Anonymous donor saves local restaurant - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Anonymous donor saves local restaurant

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Desiree Kelleigh Desiree Kelleigh

By MARIE LUBY

BALLSTON LAKE, N.Y. -- Imagine if a total stranger found out you were in trouble and gave you a check worth thousands of dollars to help keep you on your feet. That's exactly what happened to an area business owner facing foreclosure.

NEWS 10's Marie Luby takes us to the Good Times Lakeview Restaurant in Ballston Lake, where a good samaritan has changed the owner's life.

Owner Desiree Kelleigh has seen more bad times than good in the last few years, and foreclosure proceedings were set to start in January. Friday afternoon, however, someone walked in the front door and handed her a certified check for $40,000.

"My son and I just came back from Saratoga County and paid all our taxes in full." It's something Kelleigh never thought she'd be able to say, and it's all thanks to a man who read about her overdue taxes in the local paper.

"And I said, 'How much? What do you want? What's the interest rate going to be? Why?' And he said, 'Because God told me to and I'm your angel of hope.' "

Kelleigh started falling behind three years ago, when her husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. He's only 45 years old.

The recession only made matters worse. Kelleigh says the county would not accept partial payments, and she couldn't come up with all the money at once.

Her donor didn't ask to be repaid, just to remain anonymous. "He believes a spiritual intervention moved him to help me and my family, and wants no notoriety," says Kelleigh.

Shesays her husband's illness is now considered terminal. She's holding on to their shared business as long as possible.

"Bad things do happen to good people, and I didn't understand why, but I can tell you now that there's always hope, and just keep praying," says Kelleigh.

The good times have been rolling here for three generations, and now Kelleigh's son will have a chance to carry on the family business.

Kelleigh says she was lucky, but believes state tax law needs to be changed to help business and property owners who find themselves in similar hardships.

Kalleigh could only stop foreclosure proceedings by paying her entire bill in full, and had trouble getting a loan.

She is asking for a change that would allow owners to pay their oldest overdue taxes first, giving them a chance to get caught up. "I will never stop that battle now. I have to make a difference. I can't just take this money for my own self worth and carry on. I know now that I have a calling."

Kelleigh says she's started contacting legislators to explain her situation.

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