44 property transfers to a single buyer spark alarms in Mount Desert …


SOMESVILLE, Sept. 30, 2020 – “Somebody is buying up half of Mount Desert!”

The cri de couer went out among some in the building trade on MDI last week after 44 property transfers appeared in the Mount Desert Islander under the same buyer’s name.

She’s listed as Corina C. Guild, or Corina G. Gallagher, of Lancaster, Pa. The sellers were from various places in the United States – California, Alabama, Florida, Montana, Oregon and several towns in Maine, including Trenton and Orland.

Here is a page from the newspaper with only a third of the transfers:

This was a job for the awesome investigative reporting skills of the QSJ, which contacted the Hancock County Registry of Deeds in Ellsworth and was directed to https://hancockcountydeeds.com/ to search every deed by name. Indeed the name Guild returned all the deeds at issue.

The first one showed the transfer of two contiguous lots on Rt. 3 near the Giant Slide Trailhead. Together the two lots totaled three quarters of an acre and were assessed slightly more than $160,000.

One down, 43 to go.

The second one showed the transfer of the same two lots.

As well as the third one and the fourth one.

“This happens a lot on Mount Desert,” said town assessor Kyle Avila. The town is so old, many properties have been handed down to numerous descendants. The only way to clear the title is to track down all the known descendants.

I have had my bubble burst more often than not as a journalist. This story went from someone buying up half the town to a mundane title clearance of two lots which made up only .75 acres and was assessed at a little more than $160,000.

But it was still a good story, particularly the genealogy. William J. Kennedy of the Portland law firm of Drummond and Drummond represents the principal owner of the lots. The 44 transfers in the paper were just the first tranch. Kennedy said he still has other transfers coming.

The lots in this case is located on the easter side of Rt. 3 near the Giant Slide Trailhead. The first recorded owner was Giles H. Sargent, a sea captain who was born in 1829 and died in 1908, Kennedy said. One descendant, Walter Sargent, owned one of the lots at one time.

It made me wonder how much orphan land exists on MDI – properties that don’t warrant hiring a lawyer to clear the title.

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