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December 6, 2006

Sugar Loaf will not open this winter

Filed under: Business,cedar,government,Leelanau,michigan,skiing,sugar loaf,travel — Andrew McFarlane @ 8:43 am

UPDATE: There's a lot more in this story about Sugar Loaf in the Leelanau Enterprise.
Sugar Loaf ... will you ever open again?

This week's Northern Express reports that despite hopes to the contrary, Sugar Loaf will not open for the 2006 ski season. The article (which doesn't appear online) quotes owner Kate Wickstrom's attorney Joe Quandt as saying that it didn't make sense to rush the opening.

Not to be catty, but opening Sugar Loaf in just about ANY state makes a huge amount of sense to a ton of businesses in the area. One would presume that it would make sense to township and county governments (from a tax perspective) and to Sugar Loaf as well (because, well, you bought the resort to open it, didn't you?).

What doesn't make ANY sense at all (at least to me) is that hill sitting dormant for yet ANOTHER ski season. Seriously, this is tens of millions of dollars every single winter that is sucked out of Leelanau's economy. Is it too much to ask that the ownership and our state and local governments treat this issue with the urgency it requires?

37 Comments »

  1. I am unsure of the reason for the delay in opening but would not want to post a "whine" or "complaint" until I had more information.

    This is a private operation and thus the public is not "entitled" to an opening. Don't get me wrong - we'd like to see it open, too! However, the reason could be financial and if so, do not wish to invite more pain to the owner. Obviously, that would be a stressful situation with such public pressure and scrutiny. Perhaps there are contractor issues or even worse, perhaps the building code people are causing angst to the firm...quite a common occurence around here. Anyone have an idea about the real reasons?

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    Comment by BlingMomma — December 6, 2006 @ 9:31 am

  2. I disagree with BM. First, if Ford Motor Company builds a death trap, there will be a governmental
    required recall, compensation to those injured, and a requirement to modify that vehicle. Ford
    is a publicly traded company owned by private shareholders in the business of generating profits
    for those shareholders. Second, I don't believe that the moderator is "whining." I believe he
    is voicing a frustration with the current "owner." It has been two and one-half years now. A
    few windows have been changed. EVERY PROMISE KATE HAS MADE HAS FALLEN THROUGH - EVERYONE!! One
    person is holding hostage businesses, property owners, potential employees, suppliers, customers,
    and the local government. Kate needs to fish or cut bait. And LIVE UP TO ONE PROMISE. My concern
    is that the golf course owners, Brian and Ed, will just through their hands up and walk away.
    She is holding them hostage as well. They are reluctant to move forward with their development
    plans until there is clearer indications of her intentions. I don't sense any whining. I sense
    a lot of folks really pi$$ed off about the situation. Brian and Ed have the background and, more
    importantly the pockets to move this forward. There is a PUBLIC obligation to live up to what
    you say you'll do. Please, Kate, just sell it and go away.

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    Comment by Bryanp — December 6, 2006 @ 10:09 am

  3. I'm not a local, so I don't have tons of memories or emotions tied up in Sugar LoafI skiied there last back in 1993. I'm not an avid skier but it was even apparent to me that Sugar Loaf was below average in terms of equipment and features. Given the years of inactivity, I took the chance of their opening this year as nothing more than wishful thinking. As to whether the owner has an obligation to the area to open up this year, you must be joking. Operating a ski facility is a business. For-profit businesses operate in order to make a profit. Any benefit to the public is secondary. Obviously I don't know how much money needs to be made each day just to cover the overhead, but it's probably a fair amount. And if you can't cover your expenses, it may be better from a business standpoint to remain closed. If that is the case, a business is in trouble if inactivity is more attractive than activity.

    That said, from keeping up on other postings through the years, it appears that the curent owner is in over her head. Her buying Sugar Loaf made no sense. The place was in despereate need of updating. The issue with the sewer system was a nightmare.

    As far as holding other businesses hostage, I don't agree. If other businesses truly feel this way, they should form a consortium and buy Sugar Loaf. I sense a lot of whining. But that is just my two cents.

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    Comment by BobDylan — December 6, 2006 @ 11:04 am

  4. Thanks BobDylan for your thoughts. I enjoyed your two cents.

    Bryanp, I mean no disrespect but I don't see the connection you present between a publicly traded company and the SugarLoaf's "obligation" to the public. There is no class action lawsuit material here like the regulated public company issue that was raised. This is private owner.

    Agreed: A publicly traded and regulated company has an obligation to its shareholders. It also has an obligation to produce safe products because it is regulated and because to do otherwise would be catastrophic to its business and its investors. They are also required to report financials in a compliant fashion, make the appropriate SEC filings, etc. (I won't bore you with ongoing details of SEC and related issues of which I get to deal with in a private practice). But...

    Are you a shareholder of Sugarloaf or the entity that owns it? I am honestly asking because I don't think there are any financial partners or shareholders.

    In this light, Kate Wickstrom owes no obligation to me or to any County resident - except that when she opens the doors, the ski lifts are safe, etc. I realize you probably didn't intend this - but it sounds like you feel this person "owes" it to everyone to open the business publicly promised. Now, as a resident, I get your arguement - please don't misunderstand....it is a real disappointment. But this is not class action material.

    If she decides to turn the place into an herb farm, it's her deal.

    If, however, she has taken money from partners or private parties as part of an investment or financial deal that is to result in an operational ski resort (I'm not aware of any), that could result in a lawsuit...even though such investments never involve guarantees pursuant to an offering document. But no private business otherwise owes it to the public to open (or close) just because we really want / need it to.

    Hopefully, if there are financial issues or otherwise, she will get some help or just sell the place to someone who can make it work as a ski resort. I guess the County should've bought it (instead of the new building they have erected).

    I am also sorry for those who have counted on it opening - be it other businesses or prospective customers and tourists. I do not know the owner and have no idea what the intentions are for the property. No, I'm not happy about it - but for so long as it is a private business - she can do as she pleases. In the meantime, I will continue to hope that the SugarLoaf Ski Resort will open as such very soon. Best regards!

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    Comment by BlingMomma — December 6, 2006 @ 12:09 pm

  5. I do have a financial interest. I am a property owner in what is, technically, the resort grounds.
    I am also a business person. My property values are a direct reflection of whether that hill is
    open or closed.

    We will have to agree to disagree. I do believe that there is a responsibility to the community.
    I do not believe she should open if she is not ready. But, this continuous listing of plans with
    anticipated dates that are never brought to fruition is much the same as Lucy always pulling the
    football away from poor Charlie Brown. Hopes are regularly dashed.

    It is widely known that she is holding a $5.8 million note on the purchase of SL. She paid nearly
    $7 million for it almost making Remo whole on his $8 million purchase a few years before. I am
    sure it is easy to service that debt with the resort CLOSED. There is every appearance that she
    is in way over her head with no clear direction or plan.

    I am aware that a deal was offered and nearly closed LAST October (2005) with the golf course owners.
    She walked at the last minute because she wanted a PROFIT on her investment that she OVERPAIDED
    for in the first place. There is much that BM and 2 cents are probably not familiar with, as they
    cited above themselves. Perhaps readers will agree. She has no obligation. Business is business.
    It is the American way. However, there is a long, rich history here. It is a CIVIL American way
    of days gone by to look out for your neighbors. Give to your community. Step forward without being
    asked. I believe she has an obligation to move forward (when economically ready, but in a timely fashion)
    or remove herself from the picture. There are others genuinely interested. This is now a ransom situation.

    Sadly, the goodwill that was at Sugarfoots in the spring of 2004 is long gone. Folks in the area now
    view her in the same fashion as Remo Poselli. Many are certain she's working with him. I doubt it.
    In conclusion, it is MY opinion that there are obligations on many levels regarding Sugar Loaf.

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    Comment by Bryanp — December 6, 2006 @ 12:47 pm

  6. i appreciate the differing points of view, and equally, the civility of any disagreement. The difficulty seems to be finding the appropriate position between free enterprise and personal integrity and responsibility. Last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Kelo v New London, CT) showed what happens when good intentions (or not) allow government to force the sale of private property, in the name of "public good"-- even if the "public" that wins are deep pocket corporations and local government units that suddenly generate more taxes, while the "public" losers are those too poor to defend themselves.

    So it's easy to see how government intervention and business easily can both become uncivil and corrupt in the name of free enterprise.

    For those of us who've followed Sugar Loaf (and offered help to Kate; no reponse), it's also easy to be critical of a person who has consistently failed to keep her word, and rarely/never explained why; an argument for "once the lawyers are done, we still have a person, legally under no apparent obligation, who is harming (or at least knowingly affecting others)."

    I too would be very uncomfortable if Kate were somehow compelled to sell by government intervention, and equally bothered by her personal behavior. Hopefully natural consequences (perhaps in the form of her checkbook balance) will lead to some resolution.

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    Comment by jpm — December 7, 2006 @ 12:46 am

  7. I enjoyed your post jpm.

    I hope anyone who knows anything or has an "inkling" as to her intentions will write a post. It is interesting that she will not speak for herself. Heck, if I had so many people upset with me at least a communication one way or another would at least be helpful...some kind of personal response. It has been a long time and I think we're all leery of those who only communicates through their attorney.

    Is there something else planned? Will we find one day that is has opened as a business that might not be well accepted? Interesting comment in the Enterprise that indicates one of the ski runs was good to go but nothing came of it (in terms of getting a final "ok" from the State). It must be difficult to pay the note; the contractors; etc. Wonder if she has some financial backing or ? None of my business but I have to admit that I am curious. Happy Holidays everyone!!

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    Comment by BlingMomma — December 7, 2006 @ 9:31 pm

  8. And Happy Holidays to you also, BlingMomma. . .

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    Comment by jpm — December 9, 2006 @ 10:35 pm

  9. The latest update (as of 12/14/06):

    Several months ago, Cleveland Township was asked by the Sugar Loaf owner(s) to amend its PUD (Planned Unit Development) Ordinance to allow for "phased" construction. This modification would allow a developer to present a preliminary "concept" plan for a PUD, followed by a detailed "final" plan for each proposed phase as that phase was entered.

    These final plans show every detail of the proposed phase -- site plans, structures, utilities, roads, etc. Before the amendment, such a final plan would be required for an entire project. In the case of a large-scale project, such as that envisioned for Sugar Loaf (a great deal more than just a ski hill and a resort), the expenses incurred in developing such an overall plan are large and in the event that the entire PUD would not be built, could be a waste of economic resources (i.e., investor capital). In short, the Amendment would allow for "phased construction" and encourage such developments.

    On December 11, 2006, the Cleveland Township Planning Commission held a third public hearing on the proposed Amendment. This hearing was the culmination of hard work by the Planning Commission during the intervening months to develop an amendment that would 1) be of benefit to the citizens of the Township, and 2) be responsive to the needs of large-scale developments. An idea of the effort involved in this work is given by noting that the single paragraph relating to PUD development in the unamended Ordinance may be replaced by a 12-page document specifying in great detail the requirements to be met for such a project.

    Following the public hearing, the Planning Commission held its regular meeting at which it approved the proposed Amendment for submission to the Cleveland Township Board of Commissioners. That Board, at its December 12, 2006 meeting, acknowledged its receipt and scheduled consideration of it at the Board's regular meeting on January 9, 2007.

    The Commissioners are not required to hold a public hearing on this agenda item, and, at this point in time, are not considering one. If the Ordinance Amendment is approved, then the door finally opens to any developer desirerous of carrying out a "phased" Planned Unit Development.

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    Comment by poohbah — December 14, 2006 @ 3:29 pm

  10. It is unfortunate that the public chooses to listen and believe in those that do not know the truth but would rather comment and form opinion based on speculation, gossip and lies. If you only knew what the owner has been going through and the obstacles she has been faced with due to others attempts at holding HER hostage and attempts at trying to sabotage HER efforts. People should beware of those that speak without knowledge or truth. Next time someone comes to you with what they call information, ask them for the proof. We as a community, should be finding ways to support the owner, rather than sit back, join in on the gossip line and condem someone whose only purpose is to restore SL for Leelanau County. During this holiday season, perhaps people could reflect on their own blessings and be thankful for what they have rather than whining about what they feel they don't have. Put your faith in those that are good - not those with malicious intentions. MAY THE BLESSINGS OF CHRISTMAS BE WITH YOU ALL.

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    Comment by Believer — December 14, 2006 @ 4:02 pm

  11. Thanks Believer for your commentary.

    Interesting - I'm glad you wrote! I know I'd like to know what has happened - not because I'm nosey but...If you know Kate or anyone else involved in a situation where they feel they are a target of malicious behavior - I have to tell you that I can assure you that I have empathy and so do others I know of.

    We need to bring such things into the light. I am unsure how - but while there are some awesome people working within county government, there are also some very bad folks.

    I understand the kind of obstacles or downright malicious behavior/antics that can occur around here -- because I have personally been the target of such behavior. I've seen some rather unbelievable stuff - I kid you not. Any civil right attorneys out there? I want to hear from you (with all seriousness). I know of other people who have had similar experiences.

    Some long-time residents warned me against trying to "fight" these folks because I would soon fine damage to my property, etc. Well, I'm the "youngest child" and I do not stand for such behavior -- so yes, as a result of trying to ensure "right" wins over "might"...I've had damage to property- but the worst of it came as a warning to be silent (a shot across our bow, if you will)- by using the powers given to this particular group --they utilized their position in order to harass. Unreal stuff - coming from the big city, I never thought we'd have to worry about it here - but it is perhaps worse. Please know Believer that there are many of us out here who are not judging anyone. She may be in a position, therefore, where she cannot come forward due to fear of causing waves by those who can cause additional problems. Been there..and not going to stay quiet. All my best -

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    Comment by BlingMomma — December 14, 2006 @ 7:38 pm

  12. Believer,
    You wrote "If you only knew what the owner has been going through and the obstacles she has been faced with due to others attempts at holding HER hostage and attempts at trying to sabotage HER efforts." I think we would all like to know more about what Kate has been going through. Silence is not golden as regards Sugarloaf. It is really bad PR to make promise after promise and not follow through on any of them. She says in October there will be skiing @ SL and and month later her attorney says that there is no snow making equipment, so there will be no skiing. Well duh!! Snow making equipment be rented, leased or purchased. We are all tired of hearing Kate cry "wolf". Homestead had been advertising on SL's billboard for a couple of years now - they must be just loving this mess.

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    Comment by goski — December 15, 2006 @ 8:14 am

  13. To start....I hope everyone saw the northern lights last night. They were spectacular. Goski, my feeling are very much aligned with your comments. By the way, the Homestead IS NOT loving it. Sugar Loaf being shuttered hurts them as well. I am aware that many people would ski at Sugar Loaf but stay at the Homestead for the nicer accomodations. Everyone is hurt by this.

    BM, could you please explain your point? How does your personal matters pertain to this situation? You are hypothicating that what you perceived happened to you is happening to her as well? Are these the same people debating this situation that "threatened" you? Also, I am aware of the meetings that have been taking place at the Cleveland Township Hall. Has anyone considered that it may all just be posturing? It would be a very inexpensive way to do it. Especially in the form described above. She does not have to spend a great deal of money to give the impression that she is doing something...anything. Thus, she can attempt to push the bar higher for any potential buyer, i.e., the course owners. Has anyone seen the proposal? Extreme sports and RV hookups? Kids who can't afford their first home let alone a second property as well as 40 foot buses that bring all of their own supplies? Those are two GREAT ideas that will certainly add to the bottom line!!

    It is very simple. Actions speak louder than words. Thus far there have been a few words and NO actions. If Believer is correct why has Kate not come forward to explain her frustrations? That would be better that creating a litany of failed promises. I am skeptical of ALL of her motives. Any PR person worth their salt would be presenting a timeline of the plan and process for the facility to help build community support and modify it as necessary. Instead, nothing. Kate's been snippy with her last couple of public comments, now saying that it is none of our business. True, but SHE ASKED FOR IT IN THE FIRST PLACE! If you don't like it - don't ask. I am sure that is a nice interest payment watching fly out the window each month. Perhaps earlier comments regarding natural financial consequences will prevail.

    One last thing. Those worried about this Narcon issue. There is a separate LLC on the property that is part of Sugar Loaf as a whole, but is not contiguous to the resort. It is on the SE corner of Bodus and Townline (651) across from Foots. It is believed that that is the potential site for her Narcon facility. Let's not let that LITTLE issue slip off the table either.

    There also need to be something cleared up. This is not whining. This is ANGER. Just to clarify your confusion.

    Let's skip the PC crap -
    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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    Comment by Bryanp — December 15, 2006 @ 9:24 am

  14. Goski and Bryanp, I couldn't have said it better myself. I've never owned a ski resort, but I did work for a ski resort for a length of time, and am personally acquainted with the owners of that hill. They would never run their business in this manner. No announcement is made in relation to opening until inspections have been complete, equipment is in place and in working order, employees are hired, etc. The only variable that they want in relation to their opening is that which they can't control: the weather. In addition, they know that every minute they aren't open, they are losing money. Helping offset the loss in the summer time, is the revenue from the restaurant/lounge, concerts, and banquet hall rental. Unlike Sugar Loaf, they do not have lodging or a golf course on their premises to attract summer business, yet they still make a go of it.

    "Next time someone comes to you with what they call information, ask them for the proof." Well Believer, here you are with some pretty hefty claims yourself, yet you too offer no proof. I believe the FACTS surrounding this soap opera speak louder than any personal opinions.

    I would also like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and sending my thoughts and prayers to thwart that pesky El Nino from ruining yet another ski season:)

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    Comment by UP_Skier — December 15, 2006 @ 9:55 am

  15. BryanP writes- "BM, could you please explain your point? How does your personal matters pertain to this situation? You are hypothicating that what you perceived happened to you is happening to her as well? Are these the same people debating this situation that “threatened” you?"

    Exactly why must you feel a need to be on the attack?

    You can call me "Bling" by the way; I do pick up your meaning with your addressing me as you have. Can we stop? I pose no threat to you, Sir.

    I don't feel a need to explain my point specifically to you. Different township; Not entirely personal; also business related. What's with "perceived happened to you?"
    It happened; We have the undeniable evidence and since you know nothing about the situation, what is up with the additude?

    Step outside yourself for a moment and consider that Believer is trying to tell you something...Consider the possibility that the owner has been thrown some unusual obstacles. I offered my scenario as an example of how this could very well be a possibility and was hoping Believer may feel more comfortable in opening up to us. It's called "relating".

    We all know you are unhappy - you have made it abundantly clear. Perhaps if you offer the willingness for seek opposing viewpoints and other possibilities without judgment, you might learn something interesting.

    I for one, while somewhat leery, am willing to listen to other viewpoints without jumping all over the contributer. Thanks!

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    Comment by BlingMomma — December 16, 2006 @ 7:58 pm

  16. Believer, I am still hoping you would write again and provide some additional information...

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    Comment by BlingMomma — December 20, 2006 @ 10:02 pm

  17. A strange silence hovers over the blog as Believer does not respond.

    Someone with awfully deep pockets is forking over a monthly payment on SL. I'm sure a few of us are speculating the similar things with regard to that issue.

    Latest Enterprise article is interesting.

    Think Snow.

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    Comment by BlingMomma — January 12, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

  18. Bling, not sure who's forking over the monthly payments, but I think the Wickstrom's are having some issues on another front at this time. A while back I posted about a father who was upset with the treatment his son received (or didn't receive) at Stone Hawk. Needless to say, nothing has been resolved and the father is peeved (and rightfully so). Since the Wickstrom's would not even talk to him or return his calls, he's taken his fight to the next level and is gaining quite a bit of support and momentum. He's received calls and e-mails from others that have had a negative experience with the Wickstrom's "program." His initial story can be found at http://www.vincedaniels.com/article16.html and at http://www.ripoffreport.com (search for narconon). After hearing the Vince Daniels radio show, I have no respect for the Wickstrom's, nor for the Narconon organization.

    Because of the momentum the father is gaining, he has now been contacted by the Wickstrom's attorney and offered a partial refund in exchange for him signing a confidentiality agreement and never publicly discussing Stone Hawk nor the Wickstrom's again. He refused their offer.

    I question Kate's motives and ability to even get the resort running again. In my mind, it would make the most sense if the ski resort were in the hands of Fleis and Sculthorp. The resort should be one entity, run and managed by those with experience and ability.

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    Comment by UP_Skier — January 12, 2007 @ 4:32 pm

  19. Rather what I feared may happen seems to be coming to fruition. It is my understanding that the golf course owners, Brian and Ed, have turned Kings Challenge (and, I believe, the Sewage Treatment facility) back over to John Sills. They believe they can get the course back from him in THREE YEARS at or below the current price. In the meantime, Sills will most likely try to find another buyer. It is unclear what this all means for the longrun. Director of Golf Chuck Olson is back in the employ of Sills and the Steak Haus will remain under Pete B. of 'Foots fame.

    So, the owners must believe that NOTHING is going to transpire with the Loaf for at least ANOTHER THREE YEARS! And the sad saga continues! This really confuses matters with THREE owners now involved!!

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    Comment by Bryanp — January 30, 2007 @ 10:04 am

  20. A few more details that I learned yesterday:
    It appears as though Brian and Ed (course owners) have retained the Sewage Treatment operation. There is a dispute between them and John Sills. It was believed/perceived that Sills had sold ALL SL area golf course property to the new course owners. But, not so fast. Sills is claiming that he still owns portions of the property. They disagree. Thus, Brian and Ed stopped payment and now have turned Kings Challenge back over to Sills. What this does to membership holders who were previously able to play on both courses I do not know. I know they still plan to open in April.

    Speaking of disputes:
    I guess Kate had quietly tapped into the Townhouse property owners electric grid. She now makes a token payment to them, but when the electricity went out recently for nearly 13 hours somehow it caused one of the two wells to be run dry. The Townhouses had been told that they should have at least THREE wells for a association such as their's by officials. So, they are now in need of drilling TWO new wells. They believe Kate should be on the hook for at least a portion of that cost.

    What a huge mess! A friend was in the building late last fall for business reasons. She told me that there is mold EVERYWHERE. For those that don't know it, black mold can be deadly. Perhaps township officials can have the building condemned due to condition and the frequent vandalism. Maybe that will move Kate to action.

    On another note, sorry to hear of Pathfinder School's closing.

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    Comment by Bryanp — February 1, 2007 @ 11:46 am

  21. Hello Everyone! Especially you Bryan, old friend. The dialogue in this blog is overwhelmingly political and social. You guys are all assuming that there is still a 'ski resort' there.
    I worked at SugarLoaf back in the early 80's and the existing lifts were obsolete, even back then. The manufacturer, Hall Lift Co. had gone out of business and the only way we could get parts was if another ski area went under and their lifts could be disassembled and sold. Those lifts have 25 more years of life removed from them today. Also consider this.... every year the chairs have to be removed from the ropes and the ropes have to be oiled. This does not appear to have been done since the place closed. The five old ropes are all ruined, for sure, as are the grips. I would assume that if the new lift still has chairs hanging on it then it has not been oiled and probably has started to rust internally. Don't even get me started on the snowmaking system. Point being... there really isn't a ski resort there, except for the runs...
    And I would urge you to make sure, if, incredibly (read, "if the tribe buys it"), you're ever in a position to ride lift 3, that it has been completely replaced. It was very common in the years I was there for it to 'roll back', and is a disaster waiting to happen.
    The behavior of John Sills, as seller, and whatever "dreamer" or "felon" he can find to buy that place has been sickening..... I hope the technical bad news doesn't snow on anybody's parade... Hell, I hope I'm wrong!

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    Comment by chrisS — February 18, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

  22. Hey Chris!

    I guess we've all been in a bit of denial - and not the river in Egypt! The discussions are broad and general. However, upon closer inspection of the details, the raality is that it will never be the great place we remember in the prime of Cisco, Patrick, you, and I. Times change. Still much music to make!!!

    To borrow a line from one of our favorite songs:
    "But we missed that shift in the long decline.
    Long May You Run."

    Your "Old" Friend,
    Bryan

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    Comment by Bryanp — February 20, 2007 @ 8:20 am

  23. I have been monitoring this blog for quite some time now and have read all the posts and figured I would share some of my thoughts on this.

    First of all I am no expert on the subject and by voicing my opinion I am not trying to cause any problems.

    My family lives within a 1/4 mile of the resort and I have very close ties with some of the staff memebers. (which I will not name)

    This whole process is very unorganized and a solution to the problem isn't going to happen any time soon. The things that go on behind closed doors are beyond any of us that post on this blog. Kate is way over her head on this one and really has no business trying to save the resort. I know she may have good intentions, but the job just isn't getting done. Statement after statement has been made on future plans and not one has been follow through on.

    I hope I'm wrong on this and am probably repeating most of what everyone else has already stated, but I'm frustrated with this whole process and everthing about it looks very suspicious.

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    Comment by wmupilot — March 1, 2007 @ 11:17 am

  24. Either:
    1. Kate is in cahoots with, or trapped by, SL 2002, which may be dangerous folks. I'll bet she owes them exactly 5.6 million.
    2. Kate has other plans, probably Scientology related. Sneaky, sneaky.
    3. Kate is trapped in the Kobayashi Maru scenario. (Kirsty Alley Scientology puns aside.) i.e.: Renovatng doesn't work, and can't sell because of SL 2002.
    4. or a combo of the three.

    She did NO groundwork investigation in the beginning, that's blatently obvious, and isn't paying anybody what they are currently owed. I don't see any real indication she EVER was sincere. Anyway you look at it, it is undeniable that all of what she's said in the past is bull***t. I hope losing everybody's respect was worth it.

    In my opinion, if she doesn't sell this summer, between black mold, unpaid bills, questionable "arrangements", and lies, she could become the TC bad-guy of the decade. At least if she sold she could say "I tried, but nothing made economic sense" and escape with a little dignity. Now, a little quote that reminds me of Kate:

    The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made. -Groucho Marx

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    Comment by SkiGuy — June 12, 2007 @ 1:05 am

  25. She always stated that she was doing this for us. Yet it seems she has not followed up with any of the offered help. There are a lot of people up here that have offered to help to get the ball running. I'm still waiting for the barbecue she promised 2 years ago. Look at what's been done up in Leland the past couple of years, the people here are not afraid of some elbow grease & to devote time/money to aid the community. Although, it still needs a sincere financial backer.

    The other part is the lack of communication, basically this forum is apparently the only thing. The majority of the articles in the enterprise all state the same thing, we were not aware or we have not heard that. This looks like the reporters are the only people communicating. I still believe the members of the township or whomever need to also do more. If they are, it would be nice to hear an update or something.

    Are property taxes being paid?

    Just curious, when does Polselli get out of prison?

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    Comment by lex — June 12, 2007 @ 9:27 am

  26. Last week Boyne bought Sunday River & Sugarloaf(Maine) for over 77million. Boyne, you bought the wrong sugarloaf.

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    Comment by lex — June 12, 2007 @ 9:32 am

  27. Lex, the State of Michigan prisoner search shows Polselli's discharge date as 7/30/2003. I wonder if he's still involved with Resort America or any of his other LLC's.

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    Comment by UP_Skier — June 12, 2007 @ 10:23 am

  28. July 2007 and nothing has changed. So, you think the county will get an order to knock down the building due to a biohazard? That's got to be a hard case to get the prosecutor to take on...but you never know.

    Maybe Hoffa is buried somewhere up there. I cannot imagine a property like this being sat on. Sadly, I see the course is in foreclosure. Is it a curse?

    Any rumbles of anything?

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    Comment by BlingMomma — July 2, 2007 @ 7:12 pm

  29. Could be a curse, seems like it. I agree, I can't imagine how it can just be sat on, property taxes have to be huge. Just would be nice if a few things could happen, have a few snowguns(bring your own water I guess) that are operational, get a couple of ropetows, volunteer staff, open it up as a small non-profit(still charge for day use) area for the community open a few days of the week. I think a master plan is great to have, but there needs to be a short term plan & bigger is not always better. The fact that no chairlifts would be in operation, I would assume that would lower the insurance cost a bit.

    Is there a point or a deadline when some action by the owner(s) must happen?

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    Comment by lex — July 6, 2007 @ 12:26 pm

  30. According to the tax records Kate's property taxes add up to about $7,000/month on the various parcels, add into that the mortgage for the resort. Ouch!

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    Comment by UP_Skier — July 12, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  31. Wow! Times that by 2 years of ownership, plus the lean, lawyer costs & all the other battles would be a tough pill to swallow. I just don't get it & I don't want to pass too much judgement, but the only conclusion is that either she has more money than Santa Claus & can write this off or polselli is somewhere in the mix. I guess both could be true, either way it just plain sucks.

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    Comment by lex — July 16, 2007 @ 10:25 am

  32. That is quite an expensive piece of property to sit on. Takes some deep pockets. Maybe it's part of some crazy plot to drive the golf course owners into their present foreclosure situation so a biz partner of the SLoaf owner could come in and swoop it up...and take on the whole sha-bang from there. Possible? With that kind of cash outlay there has to be some plan otherwise what is the motivation?

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    Comment by BlingMomma — July 17, 2007 @ 8:04 am

  33. The internet is fun! While surfing around, I came across a web-page dedicated to the analysis of the IRS 990 filing for Kate's rehab business (just Google: narconon stone hawk financials). Interesting subjects: the large variances from year to year(uncharacteristic of most non-profits) and the deception to the IRS in regards to Stone Hawk's relationship to TIA Corporation (the Wickstrom's real estate holding company. The rehab business could be the cash-cow that's allowing her to sit on the property as she is. However I still don't understand why a business owner would want to sit on a non-performing asset that long.

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    Comment by UP_Skier — July 17, 2007 @ 4:04 pm

  34. That site was interesting to say the least, the ex-hubby still is sitting pretty (as of the last return noted) as well. So this still leaves the Loaf in the dark. There are so many facts that we don't know, but the ones we know typically raise eyebrows. Well at least somebody cuts some of the grass by the main parking lot & the runway.

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    Comment by lex — July 24, 2007 @ 9:16 am

  35. That site was super interesting....their financials are screaming for an audit. Any nonprofit must know that by filing as such likely screams "audit us". What the heck?

    One has to think that the good will of the community was turned into a holding opportunity for a future treatment center - probably the refuge of starlets someday. I can see it now, with Paris and Lindsay...well, hopefully when they get out they'll spend some money in Leelanau County.

    Sorry, I had to spout off. Clearly, there will never be a ski hill. If one of us could win the lottery and convince them to get it off their hands. But alas, I remember (I'm that old) when the public was concerned the "Moonies" were obtaining properties thru various means...maybe the Church of S has got interests in properties all over as part of their "enterprise".

    I'm usually the last person to jump on any conspiracy theory bandwagon...but it all goes back to "What is the point/motive of holding this property?" Just follow the money ---

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    Comment by BlingMomma — August 7, 2007 @ 2:57 pm

  36. This week there was another article. Lots of the same old stuff with lawyers, liens & threats. The one thing of interest is that it says wickstrom is working with a "potential buyer". First time I heard that, but I don't think I'll hold my breath.

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    Comment by lex — August 21, 2007 @ 10:56 am

  37. Interesting...Thank you so much for the update!

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    Comment by BlingMomma — September 6, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

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