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Saratoga Winners fire sparks questions

Some knew it as an old potato chip factory while others remember Saratoga Winners as a concert venue, hosting performances by artists before they were famous, but following a fire Thursday, April 30, that destroyed the Capital District landmark, many questions linger regarding the building, including who owns it.

Ron Monfils, Colonie town assessor, said the most current information the assessor's office has regarding the owners of the building shows that Stephen and Nickole Sutliff were the last to purchase the property which was actually two separate parcels of land on June 14, 2007, for $950,000. On July 18, 2007, Monfils said, the two parcels were legally combined to be one 3.83-acre parcel of land, including the building.

Attempts to reach the Sutliffs were unsuccessful.

According to Monfils, the assessor's office had heard that the property had been sold about a month ago, although the office could not confirm the new deed with the Albany County clerk. Typically, Monfils said, the deed is recorded with the county and then a copy is sent to the town and state.

"But we have not received a sale transfer in our office yet, and we checked with Albany County and we cannot see where anything was recorded yet," said Monfils. "So if there's a sale, it must not be recorded."

Monfils said the last time the assessor's office checked with Albany County for the deed was Friday, May 1, after the office had received several phone calls following the fire.

Albany County Clerk Tom Clingan said his office is constantly updating its Web site, www.albanycounty.com, with information about deeds, generally taking no more than 48 hours to put up new information.

Clingan said he asked his secretary to go through all of the files in the county clerk's office to look for the new deed for the Saratoga Winners property.

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