The owner of the century-old Elms Inn in Niantic has many unpaid utility bills and Tuesday night was considering throwing his residents into the single digit temperatures.
Hotel owner Jude Cleary suffered a heart attack Tuesday night and remains in a hospital Wednesday night while family members told Eyewitness News that they plan to run the inn.
"We all thought everything was good until he said, 'everyone's gotta go, I'm going to the hospital,'" said Kimberli Guddo, who rents an two-bedroom unit with her husband Anthony and their two cats.
Guddo, her husband and the other 15 renters at the Elms Inn learned that the power being turned off and they had to find another residence.
"It's unfortunate that the property has fallen into disrepair like this," said Frank Forrestt, who is the owners' sister.
Forrestt and his wife Carolyn have stepped in to manage the inn and help residents have a place to stay.
Eyewitness News has learned that Clearly owes two years worth of taxes, which is $54,567.23. He also owes $11,680.99 for water bills and $16,526.12 for sewer bills.
In total, Clearly owes $72,774.34, according to town documents.
"It survived storm Sandy. It survived the hurricane of 38'. So, I think it's going to be here a long time," said Carolyn Forrestt, who is the owner's brother-in-law. "And we're hoping that someone will come forward and want to buy the property and keep it going."
"Shutoffs are always a last resort. We ever want to disconnect power to any customer," said Connecticut Light & Power in a statement to Eyewitness News. "That's why we always encourage customers with payment issues to contact us as CL&P has programs and services that may be able to help."
The family told Eyewitness News they are putting the 19th century hotel back on the market and entertaining offers.
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