Long-running battle over Llenroc mansion in Rexford continues

File photoLlenroc is shown in 2017.

File photo
Llenroc is shown in 2017.

Categories: -The Daily Gazette, Business, News

BALLSTON SPA — Legal battles over the Llenroc mansion in Rexford continue, with a Long Island couple trying to force payment of nearly $1 million owed to them by the owner.

Anil and Elizabeth Paulose filed a petition Nov. 4 in state Supreme Court in Saratoga County in an effort to force payment of $971,751 or transfer of ownership of the mansion at 708 Riverview Road.

Named as defendants are Annie Kolath; her brother Siju Augustine; and Power Angels LLC, owner of the mansion.

The case dates back to 2015, when the Pauloses attempted to recover money they said they had loaned to Kolath, who had signed a promissory note for $569,575 at 10-percent annual interest in July 2009.

In 2018, Judge Thomas D. Nolan Jr. ruled in the Pauloses’ favor, ordering Kolath to make payment with interest.

The Nov. 4 filing on behalf of the Pauloses states and alleges:

  • That 2018 judgment remains entirely unpaid.
  • Power Angels’ sole asset is Llenroc; Kolath and Augustine exert full control over the LLC.
  • Kolath created the LLC to defraud creditors and transferred ownership shares in the LLC to her brother and children to hinder creditors.
  • A 2009 operating agreement indicates Kolath owns a 10-percent share of Power Angels and Augustine a 25-percent share.
  • Kolath says she sold her interest to Augustine but provides no details and in fact did not receive any compensation; Augustine is in fact holding her interest in trust for her.
  • These moves were made with intent to defraud the Pauloses.
  • Kolath lives there.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs seek:

  • To have the transfer from Kolath to Augustine voided;
  • Transfer of the mansion or an equivalent sum of money to plaintiffs;
  • Not less than $1 million, plus costs and attorneys’ fees.

Llenroc is one of the grandest homes in the Capital Region (and one of the largest at 61,403 square feet) but its owners have had problems over the years.

It was built in 1990 by Schenectady insurance magnate Al Lawrence and modeled on a building on the campus of Cornell University, where he and his wife met.

(Llenroc is not only “Cornell” spelled backward, it’s a type of stone quarried near the university and used on the mansion’s exterior.)

The Lawrences declared bankruptcy in 1997 and later operated a bed and breakfast in the mansion, whose rumored construction cost was north of $30 million. Al Lawrence went to prison briefly for a series of white collar crimes but was released when diagnosed with terminal cancer.

A commodities trader bought Llenroc for $1.43 million in 2003, then sold it to Power Angels in October 2009 for $1.88 million, marked down from the original asking price of $12.9 million.

One of Kolath’s sons; her husband, Mathai Kolath George; and a friend of George were killed in June 2009 when the small plane in which they were riding crashed into the Mohawk River upstream from the mansion.

Kolath was arrested in 2012 after complaints by a servant at Llenroc on forced labor charges that were later dismissed on procedural grounds. She was subsequently convicted of harboring an illegal alien (the servant) in the mansion and sentenced in 2013 to eight months’ home detention, also in the mansion.

By that time, the mansion was deteriorating and was more than $250,000 in arrears on property taxes.

In 2015, Kolath settled a lawsuit by the servant.

In 2016, she settled with federal government, which had moved to seize the mansion as part of resolution of the criminal case.

In 2017, the county moved to seize Llenroc for the more than $400,000 in accrued unpaid property taxes.

Power Angels is currently listed as the owner in the county tax database. Full market value is placed at $3.43 million; total assessment is $1.75 million; total 2020 property tax bill is $77,915.

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