KILLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – A judge has OK’d the installation of a receiver for the Cortina Inn, which closed last month after tests found its water supply tainted by the bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease.

Rutland County Superior Court Judge Mary Miles Teachout agreed to a request by the inn’s primary creditor, GE Commercial Mortgage Corp., to have Hostmark Hospitality Group of Chicago take over stewardship of the property.

The inn’s owner, La Cortina Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

listing debts of more than $8 million, but a federal judge has dismissed the filing because the company had failed to maintain workers’ compensation insurance.

In court Friday, a representative of Hostmark told Teachout his company was prepared to clean the Legionella from the inn’s water supply and install 24-hour security in exchange for a $2,500-a-month administrative services fee, but said it doesn’t plan to operate the inn.

Security has becomem an issue since the inn’s principal owner, John Kerr, told Vermont State Police that thieves had ripped copper wires and tubing from ceilings in the 96-room inn.

Lisa Chalidze, a lawyer for Kerr, said the owners don’t know how they’re going to resolve their financial losses. It was the second time this year the inn was forced to close because of Legionella. It closed voluntarily in April after three confirmed cases of the disease were linked to it.

In June, it closed again after follow-up tests found the bacteria again.

“The closing last month was like the last straw,” she said.

Legionnaires’ disease takes it name from a 1976 outbreak at a Philadelphia hotel that killed 34 people.

The bacterium believed responsible is found in soil and grows in water, such as in air conditioning ducts, storage tanks and rivers. People can develop the disease by breathing contaminated aerosolized water from faucets, showers and whirlpool spas, although most exposed to the bacteria won’t get it.

When directly exposed, those most at risk are the elderly, smokers and people with chronic lung disease or compromised immune systems.

Information from: Rutland Herald,

AP-ES-07-13-08 1446EDT

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