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Thatched Cottage sold to bidder for $4.65 million

The Thatched Cottage in Centerport, seen on Jan.

The Thatched Cottage in Centerport, seen on Jan. 14, 2014. The East Main Street business opened in 1915 as a restaurant. Ralph Colamussi purchased it 26 years ago, running it as a restaurant and catering facility before closing the restaurant. Credit: Ed Betz

The bankrupt Thatched Cottage catering hall in Centerport has been auctioned off for $4.65 million -- less than the 2010 appraised value of $8.5 million.

Suzan Tina Properties, which owns The Sterling banquet hall in Bethpage, submitted the winning bid.

"Definitely happy, no doubt," Yama Raj, the company's executive director, said after the auction Wednesday. "And now the work starts."

The auction, held at the hall, came a day after the business' longtime owner, Ralph Colamussi, attempted suicide -- drenching himself and his vehicle with gasoline in the parking lot of a Huntington restaurant, according to an emergency rescue official.

Colamussi was taken to Huntington Hospital by the Huntington Community First Aid Squad, said Dominic Heavey, second deputy chief for the ambulance company.

"He was just unconscious," Heavey said. "He was breathing on his own."

Colamussi was in stable condition at Huntington Hospital Tuesday night.

It wasn't clear Wednesday whether he'd been discharged. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

The auction drew more than a dozen people and was over in about 20 minutes. It will take a few months for the sale to close, officials said.

The new owner plans to rename the Thatched Cottage, which opened in 1915 as a restaurant and had been a major draw for weddings.

Raj said he hopes to reopen as soon as possible and will hire at least 30 workers, possibly including former Thatched Cottage employees.

Bankruptcy operating trustee R. Kenneth Barnard said he was satisfied with the outcome, although the debts associated with the property and Colamussi far exceed -- by millions -- what was raised. Barnard said he could not be more specific.

"The beauty of an auction is that it draws whatever people are willing to pay for the property," he said. "I trust the auction process."

Barnard, of Wantagh, had said his goal was "to maximize the money." He will be responsible for paying off the cottage's debtors.

Suzan Tina Properties will not be liable for liens and financial claims on the property, auction house officials had said.

Colamussi lost the 21,000-square-foot catering property earlier this year after owning it for 26 years. He had attributed some of his financial woes to flood damage and the associated costs after Tropical Storm Irene and superstorm Sandy. He borrowed about $3 million for repairs that, along with $630,000 he owes the state in sales tax, became insurmountable.

Barnard determined that the business could not survive.

It was announced in July that the business would close Oct. 6. Couples were notified earlier this year that their wedding reception plans were canceled.

Central Islip-based David R. Maltz & Co. Inc. handled the auction of the 2.18-acre property, which was held after noon at the Thatched Cottage, 445 E. Main St.

With Ellen Yan

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