Surf managers are outCyrs will run hotel again; restraining order against delinquent managers
The family that managed the historic Surf Hotel this summer failed to pay vendors, broke their management agreement and “were removing books and records and other property from the Island,” alleged the hotel’s owners, the Cyr and Nyzio family of ULBE Inc., this week.
As a result, said Lorraine Cyr and ULBE Vice President John Pfarr in a joint statement November 19, ULBE was granted a temporary restraining order November 14 in Washington County Superior Court and have terminated all agreements with Paul and Joan Nedovich of Moodus, Connecticut, and their daughters Heather Rasemus and Kimberly Afonso.
Afonso was the friendly face behind the hotel’s front desk this summer in a triumphant season that returned the landmark 1876 hotel to life. Guests flocked to stay in the reasonably priced rooms, which were a mainstay for family vacations on Block Island for generations of middle class visitors. Diners enjoyed the expansive porches with views over Water Street, Crescent Beach and Block Island Sound.
Afonso has not answered repeated calls for comment from the Times over the past week.
Before opening in early July this year, the four-story hotel had been closed for five years after its owners put it up for sale. Over that time, the sale price dropped from $12 million to $6 million. The management agreement contained an option for Rasemus and Afonso to buy the hotel.
Pfarr says the Cyrs will not put the Surf back up for sale, but instead plan to run it once more as a family business, as they did for 50 years before closing the doors in 2007. ULBE President Lorraine Cyr will manage the hotel; other key staff members will retain their jobs, including chef Gerry Sinotte.
“Lorraine is more excited than I have seen her in years,” Pfarr said. “I guess that the six-year respite from the hard work and burdens of running a hotel was all she needed.”
“Kim [Afonso] and her family fell behind in a payment due us in October,” said Lorraine Cyr. “The ‘tipping point,’ however, occurred later in October when we began to discover that the Nedovich family had contracted with many additional vendors of supplies and services which had not been paid, much of which was past due.”
In an October 28 meeting, say the Cyrs, the Nedovich family asked ULBE Inc. to give a year’s extension of time to make the required payments, but “in the course of the meeting, they made claims that turned out not to be accurate.”
The Cyrs said they would insist that all contractors and vendors would be paid before the Cyr family receives its late payments.
“We have filed suit against each member of the Nedovich family involved with the Surf, intending to utilize our rights under the contracts to force them to pay every single creditor of theirs who sold goods or provided services to the Surf,” said the statement.