Potter's Diner now on solid footing after ownership is settled and financing is secured

WARRENSBURG - Potter's Diner, a landmark in town for 84 years that was operating recently under a cloud of contended ownership, literally has a new lease on life.

Potter's Diner proprietor Rena Morehouse, who's operated the Main St. business since 1999, recently won a legal battle establishing her ownership, she said, and she has lined up new financial backers who bought the land and building from her and extended her a 10-year lease.

The transfer of the sale of the land and building was recorded in the Warren County Clerk's office Sept. 16, and it details the sale of the Potters Diner building from Morehouse to Toney Properties LLC for $157,990, and pays off former owner Virginia DiFranco for her interest in the associated property for $187,000.

Last spring, DiFranco had planned to sell both Potters Diner and some apartment dwellings behind it to Stewart's Shoppes so they could demolish the buildings and double the size of the footprint of their neighboring convenience store on Main St.

DiFranco's lawyer had claimed that Morehouse hadn't fulfilled a contract for sale for the property, so DiFranco remained the sole owner; but Morehouse's lawyer successfully contended that Morehouse had indeed lived up to the contract, which the seller had never properly recorded. Stewart's had in early 2008 penned a purchase option with DiFranco and filed plans with the town to demolish all the buildings if DiFranco established ownership. That contract is now moot.

With the legal skirmishes settled, those demolition and expansion plans are now shelved indefinitely.

Morehouse said Monday that she was happy the dispute was over and that her enterprise now had solid finances with which to go forward.

"We're here ready to continue servicing the needs of the community for many years to come," she said. "We are confident the community will respond well."

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