ACT: Jury says insurance not liable in Richmond Hill fire; owners “participated” in blaze

The Asheville Citizen-Times’ Clarke Morrison reports,

A federal jury ruled that the former owner of the Richmond Hill Inn participated in the intentional burning of the historic structure nearly four years ago.

The judgment in a lawsuit means the ownership group, The Hammocks LLC, won’t be able to collect on a $6 million insurance policy taken out on the property overlooking the French Broad River. … The property was in foreclosure at the time of the blaze, and investigators said the sprinkler system had been turned off and they found evidence that a petroleum product was used to start the fire.

Buddy Thompson of the Asheville-Buncombe Arson Task Force said he doesn’t know if there ever will be an arrest. … Thompson said the jury’s conclusion in the civil trial doesn’t mean there’s enough evidence to bring criminal charges.

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