June 23, 2018
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MDI woman ordered to pay $35,000 to former landlord

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Mount Desert Island woman with a history of being accused by lenders of not living up to financial obligations or agreements has been ordered to pay $35,000 to a former landlord, according to court records.

Judge Bruce Mallonee, presiding in Ellsworth District Court, on Oct. 31 ordered Dianna Brochendorff to pay $34,986 to Rhonda Soucie-Coffin, court documents indicate. Soucie-Coffin incurred the costs by renting a home she owns in the Mount Desert village of Seal Harbor to Brochendorff and then by trying to evict Brochendorff from the property.

Soucie-Coffin rented the home to Brochendorff from August 2008 into July 2009 and then took Brochendorff to court to seek repayment of utility bills, travel expenses, repair costs and legal fees she incurred as a result.

Soucie-Coffin’s civil suit sought $50,407.70 in repayment from Brochendorff. According to Soucie-Coffin’s attorney, Thomas Wheatley of Bar Harbor, the requested total included $16,100 in summer-rate rent payments that Soucie-Coffin claimed she would have been able to get in 2009 from another tenant if Brochendorff had moved out on time that spring and if the house had been left in good repair.

Wheatley said Mallonee’s decision included only $3,000 in rent that Brochendorff was obligated to pay Soucie-Coffin — not any prospective rent that Soucie-Coffin may or may not have earned that summer from a possible subsequent tenant. The judge also awarded less money than Soucie-Coffin had asked for in travel and lost-wage reimbursements.

Besides the $3,000 in back rent, the $34,986 payment order includes travel expenses, lost wages, repair costs, utility bills and nearly $20,000 in legal fees, court documents indicate.

Wheatley said Mallonee made the right decision in siding with his client.

“I think he did a good job,” Soucie-Coffin’s attorney said. “The question is: Do we ever collect it? Who knows.”

Brochendorff did not respond to a voice mail message left Monday at her Northeast Harbor residence.

In October, a Connecticut judge ordered Brochendorff to repay $10,000 to a former friend from whom Brochendorff is accused of stealing nearly $200,000 worth of designer clothing and antiques. The $10,000 repayment order pertains to a cash loan that the former friend, Massoumeh Homayouni, made to Brochendorff, not to the value of clothing and antiques that Brochendorff allegedly took from Homayouni.

Much of the clothing and antiques that Brochendorff allegedly took from Homayouni, which Brochendorff had been storing in Connecticut for Homayouni, ended up being recovered by police in Maine in February 2010 at Brochendorff’s Main Street apartment in Northeast Harbor and at a business Brochendorff ran at the time called Somesville Consignment Shop. Brochendorff now owns and operates a seasonal, high-end consignment shop in Northeast Harbor called Maine Coast Exchange.

Last month Brochendorff was granted “accelerated rehabilitation” in Connecticut for repaying the $10,000. Accelerated rehabilitation is a program by which defendants who have no criminal record are given a second chance, in this case, to avoid being prosecuted on criminal charges.

According to Terri Sonnemann, senior assistant state’s attorney in Connecticut, Brochendorff was ordered to repay $5,000 immediately and the remaining $5,000 within the next six months. If she does not, Sonnemann said, prosecutors will pursue a larceny charge against Brochendorff for the alleged theft of Homayouni’s possessions.

In 2010, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust was engaged in a four-year effort to recover money from Brochendorff. In a civil action filed against Brochendorff in Ellsworth District Court, the bank was seeking to get Brochendorff to repay $23,415 that she had ended up with as a result of a credit transaction.

The bank’s attorney, Michael Haenn of Bangor, has said Brochendorff ended up paying back a significant portion of that amount.

Around the same time, electrical contractor MCM Electric of Mount Desert was trying to get Brochendorff to repay $1,170.89 for two days of work it did for her in September 2009. The contractor indicated in Ellsworth District Court documents that five subsequent attempts to contact Brochendorff about paying the bill were unsuccessful.

The contractor’s small claims case was dismissed in August 2010, a couple of months after Brochendorff paid the contractor $600, according to court documents.

Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.

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