Cornerstone, U.S. agree to $415K Shrewsbury Street drug restaurant settlement

BY Zachary Comeau


The federal government will pay Worcester-based Cornerstone Bank $415,000 after it sells the former Usual and Chameleon restaurant building on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester, which was closed after law enforcement uncovered a drug money laundering operation.
In documents filed in federal court this week, lawyers for the bank and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts agreed Cornerstone, which had given former restaurateur and convicted felon Kevin Perry a $375,000 loan for the building on which he defaulted, agreed to settle.
Last month, the bank said it was owed more than $444,000 in principal, interest and other fees due to the loan’s delinquent status on 166 Shrewsbury St. 
The government has controlled the property for several months and now intends to sell the restaurant space, but Cornerstone wanted to make sure it recovered the loan. Per the agreement, Cornerstone has agreed to fully discharge any and all liens on the property so prospective buyers inherit a clear title. The bank will release the government from all claims.
The agreement is attached to a deadline of Oct. 12 to sell the property. If the government does not sell the building on or before that date, the agreement is voided.
Perry was convicted in May and sentenced to 14 years for selling opioids and laundering the proceeds of those sales through Worcester restaurants and other properties.
According to the government, the building has been marketed since early July. A real estate sign in the window markets the property for sale.
The Usual closed in spring 2016 after Perry was charged, but his wife, Stacey Gala, reopened the restaurant as the Chameleon last summer. That restaurant lasted until only November, and Gala and former business partner Joseph Herman were charged in February with conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to court documents filed Tuesday, Gala is seeking a jury trial, while Herman will likely resolve his case by way of a plea.