Charles M. Eaton was the principal owner of the Hotel Ampersand.
The Plattsburgh Sentinel, January 15, 1909
Companies Refuse to Pay Policies and State Reason—Hotel Retaliates With Libel Suits of $2,000,000
Among the appeal cases coming before the Appellate court at the present term is the litigation growing out of the fire which destroyed the Ampersand hotel at Saranac Lake in September, 1907.
The fire occurred a few days after the close of the summer season and the insurance on the property destroyed was said to be $100,000. About a year ago several men were arrested in New York charged with being implicated in a plot to burn the hotel, but it was not claimed that these parties were the actual perpetrators of the alleged crime.
An action was subsequently brought by the hotel company to recover the amount of the insurance from the companies, which action was unsuccessfully defended in the Malone term last April. Shortly thereafter Charles M. Eaton, of New York city, one of the chief stockholders of the hotel company, began libel suits for $50,000 against each of the insurance companies interested in the case (some 40 in number), aggregating more than $2,000,000.
In view of the large amount of money involved in these libel suits the outcome of the trial is of the greatest importance to both parties to the litigation.
The basis for the libel suits is the contention of the fire insurance companies that the fire was of incendiary origin.