A bankruptcy trustee wants to liquidate the remaining fine wine collection of La Crémaillère, the once-renowned exemplar of French country cooking in Bedford.
Fred Stevens, the trustee, asked federal bankruptcy court in White Plains on Tuesday for permission to auction the wine, as prospects for the restaurant have dimmed.
Though his motion makes no mention of the coronavirus, in the past few weeks, it states, “any continued operation of the debtor’s restaurant as a going concern became highly unlikely.”
Stevens also has been trying to sell the real estate and the restaurant itself.
Meyzen Family Realty Associates, the owner of 3.75 acres and the 1750s farmhouse on Bedford-Banksville Road that houses La Crémaillère, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2018. La Crémaillère petitioned for bankruptcy protection in April 2019.
The enterprise is owned by Robert and Barbara Meyzen, of Redding, Connecticut.
UPDATE: Barbara Meyzen has left the company as a stockholder and is no longer an owner of the restaurant, according to a press release La Crémaillère issued April 10, 2020.
The Meyzens valued the wine collection at $1.3 million, according to a bankruptcy schedule. But last July, Silvio Benedetto, a broker hired to sell the assets, estimated that it was worth $250,000 to $360,000.
Most of the wine has already been sold by Zachys Wine Auctions of White Plains, but a portion of the collection was held back for La Crémaillère customers.
Stevens did not disclose how much Zachys sold the wine for, or how much the remaining wine is worth. But Zachys posted a $500,000 performance bond and the proposed auctioneer, Winebid, would have to post a $100,000 bond.
La Crémaillère was almost sold. Last July, Port Chester restaurateur Ray Balidemaj proposed buying it for $2.5 million. The deal collapsed a few days later, when the FBI arrested Barbara “Bobbie” Meyzen on multiple fraud charges.
She was accused of filing a phony mortgage document, giving potential lenders false financial information, charging food and supplies to a customer whose credit card number the restaurant kept on file, bouncing checks, and diverting money from La Crémaillère after it had filed for bankruptcy.
She pleaded guilty on March 5 to one count of wire fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for July 29 by U.S. District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert D. Drain will consider the proposed auction in an April 29 telephonic hearing.
If approved, the wine will be moved to Winebid’s climate-controlled warehouse in Napa, California.
It will be offered for sale in bulk and in lots, Stevens’ motion states, “as is, where is, without any representations of any kind or nature whatsoever.”
The trustee is represented by Manhattan attorneys Sean C. Southard and Stephanie R. Sweeney.