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Shuttered Tamarack Resort, Boise Idaho May Have "Ray of Hope"
Resort's Developer has Potential Buyer Pending Outcome of Mediation

By Brad Talbutt, The Idaho Statesman, BoiseMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

May 20, 2009--Jean-Pierre Boespflug told the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday that a potential buyer, whom he declined to identify, is interested in the resort. Boespflug said the buyer is waiting for the outcome of mediation among lenders, others to whom Tamarack owes money, and investors.

Q: Why is Tamarack for sale?

A: Tamarack, which opened in 2004, closed unfinished in March after defaulting on a quarter-billion-dollar loan from the Credit Suisse bank. Credit Suisse sued to try to get its money back. Credit Suisse and other creditors have put up about $12 million to protect the resort from deterioration, but last week they told state District Judge Patrick Owen in Boise that they were through funding the property, which will be out of cash at the end of the month. A sale could prevent a foreclosure, bankruptcy ordecay from lack of maintenance.

Q: Why is a state court involved?

A: Tamarack is in receivership, meaning control is in the hands of a court-appointed receiver, not Tamarack's owners.

Credit Suisse sought the receivership after Tamarack's owners filed for protection last year from Credit Suisse and other creditors. A judge dismissed the bankruptcy.

A receivership gives the creditors -- people to whom Tamarack owes money -- operating control.

A bankruptcy typically allows the owners -- the debtors -- to retain control while the business reorganizes.

Q: How much could Tamarack be sold for?

A: Boespflug told the Land Board that the potential buyer could get it for "pennies on the dollar." He declined to quantify that when asked by Gov. Butch Otter, a Land Board member. Otter also wondered who the buyer might be.

This isn't the first time Tamarack's owners have talked with potential buyers. Talks with HDG Mansur Capital Group LLC, an international real estate investment company, failed last fall.

Q: Why is Boespflug still involved since the resort is in receivership?

A: Boespflug and Mexican businessman Alfredo Miguel still control about four-fifths of the resort's equity personally or through their real-estate holding companies.

They don't run the property now. Owen appointed the receiver, Douglas Wilson of San Diego, last fall.

Boespflug said Tuesday that his only interest in the resort is to provide an economic engine for Valley County and he plans to seek another round of receiver financing.

An economic impact study commissioned by Tamarack showed that the resort generated more than $8 million in tax revenue for the state in 2006.

Q: What is the mediation about?

A: The resort's creditors -- including contractors who did work for which they haven't been paid -- are likely deciding how much they are willing to settle for, who will be paid first and how much. An agreement would keep the property out of court and grease the skids for a sale. Owen ordered the mediation May 1, and it is under way in Los Angeles.

Q: Why is the state Land Board involved?

A: The board oversees state-owned land and invests revenue that the land produces. Tamarack leases a chunk of that land for $250,000 a year. A new owner may seek to renegotiate the lease.

Otter is worried that the proposed sale could hurt the state financially.

Tamarack made its latest lease payment in full last December. The next payment isn't due until January 2010.

Boespflug asked the board to cooperate in helping to expedite a sale if one occurs.

Q: What happens now?

A: Owen will dismiss Wilson, the receiver, unless creditors cough up more money to let him keep operating Tamarack or a sale occurs.

Then Boespflug and Miguel could try to force the property into bankruptcy, where they could seek control of Tamarack, forgiveness for the millions they owe, or even reimbursement for what they invested.

Owen has scheduled a hearing for May 28, where the results of mediation may be discussed.

Brad Talbutt: 672-6737


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