Autoport again escapes sheriff’s sale

The Autoport Motel located at 1450 S. Atherton St., in State College.
The Autoport Motel located at 1450 S. Atherton St., in State College. CDT photo

The clock was close to striking midnight on Autoport co-owners Greg and Lynda Mussi, but a recent court order and emergency motion gave them more time to make a deal with potential investors.

Enterprise Bank attorney Joseph Fidler filed an emergency motion last week to postpone a sheriff’s sale that would have taken place Thursday at the Centre County Courthouse Annex.

The sheriff’s sale has been rescheduled for Oct. 8, but that can’t take place as long as Mussi Realty makes monthly payments of $10,129 to the bank, according to the corporation’s bankruptcy attorney Donald Hahn. The court order gives the Mussis until Dec. 1 to file a motion to sell the property.

“We love the history of the property and are doing everything in our power to turn the property over to someone who shares our vision and (is) adequately funded to make ... necessary upgrades,” Greg Mussi said. “Quite frankly, to many investors, it is worth more demolished and redeveloped than it is keeping it. My wife, Lynda, and I have enjoyed almost every minute of operating the Autoport and hope that the next owners are equally honored to carry on its tradition as we have been.”

The Mussis bought the Autoport eight years ago, they said, to prevent it from being torn down and replaced with a convenience store.

“We paid too much for it, and we didn't have enough funding to do the repairs and improvements which it needed and still needs,” Greg Mussi said.

If Mussi Realty fails to make a payment, the bank can file a notice for the payment to be cured in two weeks time, according to Hahn. If a payment isn’t made, the bank would be able to proceed with a sheriff’s sale.

According to court documents, Fidler placed the total liability at $1.34 million plus interest after April 17, 2014, of about $144 per day; late charges; attorney’s fees; and costs for foreclosure and sale of the property against The Piedmont Food Co. and Mussi Realty, each owned by the Mussis.

The couple took out an unknown loan with Enterprise Bank in 2007 to help finance their purchase of the site. Court documents do not list how much the loan totaled.

Mussi Realty escaped foreclosure in December, because Enterprise Bank gave them a three-month extension to catch up on their bills and again in April after the couple filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy filing, Greg Mussi said in April, gave them 120 days to present a “game plan” to the bank to pay down their debt. He has told the Centre Daily Times before they are been grateful for the bank’s willingness to work with them.

“The bank has given us additional time to work with several interested parties who are interested in partnering with us, which (would) allow us to continue operating the restaurant, and they would run the hotel,” Greg Mussi said. “This scenario is the most attractive option to us.”

Several investors, Greg Mussi has told the Centre Daily Times in April, are interested in making a deal could relieve them of their debt with Enterprise Bank.

Two developers, one based in Williamsport and one out of State College, want to purchase the property and raze The Autoport and Clem’s Roadside Bar and Grill, the restaurant attached to the motel also owned by the Mussis.

A third potential investor wants to run and own a portion of The Autoport. That person, according to Mussi, has run hotels in the area. A deal with him would allow the Mussis to focus solely on running the restaurant and the investor to run the motel, possibly under a corporate flag.

A fourth potential investor, who wants to preserve The Autoport but is not interested in running it, came forward this spring.

The Mussis have had a tumultuous last year on a number of other fronts.

In October, they were critiqued on national TV by “Hotel Impossible” host Anthony Melchiorri. The Mussis were sued the same month by Clem’s Cafe, located in Blairsville, for alleged trademark infringement.

The Susquehanna Economic Development Association-Council of Governments filed an unrelated suit in October against The Piedmont Food Co. and Mussi Realty in the amount of about $196,000 for principal, interest and attorney costs.