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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The defense has begun to make its case in the trial of a local businesswoman accused of torching her own business for money.
Prosecutors are trying to depict Susan Lukjan as financially struggling and someone who wanted to cash in on insurance claims when Campbell's Gourmet Cottage caught fire in 2006. The defense says the claims have no merit and they hope to prove she paid up on her bills shortly before the fire.
A local accountant reviewed financial records from Campbell's Gourmet Cottage both before and after the fire in 2006. She testified that while there is documentation of late payments, that's not uncommon for small businesses. Helen Cohen, a CPA with Blue & Co., said, "I just don't see this type of what I would regard as financial stress in Campbell's Gourmet Cottage."
Documents reveal the fire caused a loss of more than $230,000, and that's just what Lukjan reportedly claimed on her $500,000 insurance policy.
Lukjan's first arson conviction was overturned and despite being offered a plea deal that would have freed her immediately, she says she is going to trial a second time to clear her name.