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Credit Suisse and the Receiver Tell the Judge to Mothball Idaho's Tamarack Resort;
Owners Defaulted on $250 million in Construction Loans
By Brad Talbutt, The Idaho Statesman, BoiseMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

March 6, 2009 - Tamarack Resort's court-appointed receiver, Douglas Wilson of San Diego, damaged the value of the property far more by closing it this week than by continuing to operate for two or three more weeks as the ski season approaches its end, the resort's lawyer, Steven Milleman, told a state judge in Boise.

The judge, Patrick Owen, is overseeing Wilson's operation of the resort, which defaulted on $250 million in construction loans from Credit Suisse and other lenders. A receiver is appointed by a court to manage the assets of a failing company in preparation for its sale or liquidation.

Owen called the hearing Wednesday to consider plans for spending money to close the resort and safeguard it.

Wilson's attorney, Douglas Pahl, said mounting losses made it necessary to mothball Tamarack now.

Wilson submitted a budget to the court that outlines a plan until the end of April. After that, there is no plan, Pahl said.

After spending the construction loans and racking up another $20 million in unpaid bills, creditors persuaded Owen to begin foreclosure proceedings.

Pahl said it became apparent in February that the resort would have to be closed early because losses during the ski season had mounted faster than expected.

Lease payments on two ski lifts haven't been paid since January and are in serious danger of being declared in default, as is the golf-course lease, Pahl said.

An attorney for lenders, including Credit Suisse, said the group had agreed to make an additional $1.7 million loan, but only to close the resort, not to continue operations.

Wilson also has about $1.5 million left from an original $10 million bridge loan he got from Credit Suisse in October.

Pahl told Owen that the $3.3 million total was just enough to mothball the resort and to pay employees for time worked, health insurance expenses and time off.

Owners of the resort, including Jean-Pierre Boespflug -- who sat behind Milleman in court -- want it reopened. But with ski season winding down and losses mounting, restarting the operation seems unlikely, said attorneys for several creditors.

Owen is expected to rule at his next hearing Tuesday.

Brad Talbutt: 672-6737

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To see more of the Idaho Statesman, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.idahostatesman.com

Copyright (c) 2009, The Idaho Statesman, Boise

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