Judge Rules For Cleves & Siguenza In Cobbs Mill Case

For several years, things have not been ducky at Cobbs Mill Inn.

After Drew Friedman — owner of the legendary Weston restaurant — died in 2016, the executor of his estate attempted to sell the property.

He reached an agreement with Cleves & Siguenza Properties, in January 2022. However, Friedman’s widow Laura objected, claiming the price was too low.

When the Probate Court overruled her, she and Anthony Villano attempted to keep the property for herself. They occupied the site after the sale closed, refused to leave when requested by Cleves & Siguenza, and denied them access to the property.

Friedman and Villano also recorded documents on the land records, claiming an interest in the property over Cleves & Siguenza.

Cobbs Mill Inn

In June 2022, the law firm of McCarter & English tried the case in a 3-day bench trial in Stamford. The court rejected 9 defenses offered by Friedman and Villano.

Last Friday, the court granted judgment in favor of Cleves & Sigeunza for immediate possession of Cobbs Mill Inn. Friedman and Villano were ordered to remove their personal property by August 5.

Joseph Cherico, lead trial lawyer at McCarter for Cleves & Siguenza, says that his clients are “excited for the day when they can renovate and reopen this special property.”

The law offices of Joseph F. Mulvey also represented Cleves & Siguenza.

In response to a request for comment, Friedman emailed one word — “heartbroken!” — along with photos of her wedding to Drew Friedman at Cobbs Mill Inn.

16 responses to “Judge Rules For Cleves & Siguenza In Cobbs Mill Case

  1. Great news! I hope this is the end of it and we can look forward to the reopening.

  2. Tracy A Flood

    Wonderful news!!!!!!!!

  3. Caroline Sorstein

    Please leave the area as is as much as your group possibly can

  4. Didn’t Friedman cause a loss of revenue to the new owners because they could have renovated and opened sooner? Who paid the property tax during the disputed timeframe? Doesn’t an Executor have the authority to sell property? Friedman’s only argument was the sale wasn’t for enough money, not that Executor didn’t have the authority. Feel free to weigh in.

  5. I think I photographed a thouseand weddings at The Cobbs Mill Inn. It was really a special place. My older sister had her wedding there. I remember one wedding where one of the guest’s was dared to swim in the pond (Ezra) and he did! I have to find that negative, it was really funny.

  6. Beth Berkowitz

    That’s great news! It’s been heartbreaking for Cobb’s Mill to have been closed for so long!!!

  7. Marisela Esposito

    “Heartbroken” for the rightful owners to have been denied access to renovate a historic restaurant. Friedman & Villano should compensate the Siguenzas for the lost income, legal expenses and duress they’ve endured.

    • Marisela, Those are exactly my thoughts.

    • Fun Fact: before Da Pietro’s Pietro was the head chef there for years, he tells such great stories of all the weddings and dinners he made. The amount of Prime Rib was mind blowing! I look forward to a romantic dinner with him by the waterfall when it is opened!! Good luck with the project!!!

  8. I remember having dinner at Cobb’s Mill Inn before Senior Prom in June, 1965 with several other grads of the Staples High Class of 1965. What a wonderful experience, especially for 18 year olds with limited fine dining experience. The scenery was quite spectacular, the food (prime rib) was perfectly prepared. The staff treated us as adults, rather than a bunch of unruly teens who would take up too much of their time without being tipped properly. Fortunately, my parents raised me well. Even then, although the “standard” tip was 15%, my father insisted that I leave 20%, which seemed to delight our waiter. I’ve always remembered that 20% rule, especially when I experienced 10% and even a few zero tips during my first job as a busboy/waiter at the old Hager’s Steak House during the summer before my senior year, prior to my dining experience at Cobb’s Mill; servers were only paid 85 cents per hour, the federal minimum wage at the time was $1.25. In later life, I became involved in the restaurant industry, eventually becoming a business partner as well as a general manager of several restaurants here in the Memphis area. “Teaching” guests how to tip properly was a mission for me for over 35 years ; paying more than minimum wage to servers and back of the house staff another. Some of the greatest resistors to my “radical” views on wages were my own restaurant partners. Greedy mouth-breathers, they.

    As I’m unfamiliar with the controversy concerning Cobb’s Mill Inn’s ownership, I would hope that the new owners are local rather than part of a restaurant chain or would-be restaurant chain. I would also hope that the new owners are “enlightened” about paying their staff; I’ve learned through experience that paying people a fair wage results in greater retention of staff, a happier group of employees, and greater consistency in the food and drinks being served. Most of all, I hope the new owners do plan to keep operating Cobb’s Mill as a fine dining restaurant, rather than turning it into something else or (yeeks!) razing it. I would love to have the opportunity to dine there during my next visit to the Westport area.

  9. Bruce McFadden

    My Staples retirement party was there. So were many others !
    Special memories.

  10. Does anyone know why Laura Friedman, and the executor of Drew Friedman’s estate were not on the same page with regard to the plans / details?

  11. Eva Rosenblatt

    Congratulations to Kleber Siguenza & family.

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