EDWARDS, Colorado - A California company partly owned by David Wilhelm beat Donald Trump's firm in a bankruptcy auction for the Club at Cordillera.
Wind Rose Holdings paid $14.2 million in Monday's auction.
Wind Rose topped Trump Golf Acquisitions, LLC, owned by Donald Trump, and Alpine Bank, which were bidders in the process. Wilhelm owed Cordillera at least $12.5 million.
Wilhelm acquired the Club at Cordillera in 2009 from former owner Felix Posen, and put it into bankruptcy last June. The Club fell on hard times when membership plunged after Wilhelm opted not to open three of Cordillera's four golf courses.
Wilhelm is an investor in Wind Rose Holdings, listed as a California investment group.
While Wilhelm remains a Wind Rose Holdings investor, he will have neither a management nor day-to-day operational role in the new structure at The Club at Cordillera, he said Monday in a prepared statement. The club will hire a management company.
When Wilhelm acquired the Club at Cordillera from former owner Felix Posen, he was listed as the co-managing partner in Wind Rose with the Roaring Fork Club in Basalt and a failed Snowmass Village project in Snowmass.
Class action settled
Monday's bankruptcy auction also closes the book on the $108 million class action lawsuit Cordillera property owners filed against Wilhelm.
In a ruling handed down by District Court Judge Tom Moorhead:
• The Cordillera property owners association will receive Summit Athletic Club, Trailhead Children's Center and Cordillera's nine-hole course.
• Wilhelm or the entity with which he is involved must offer membership at $3,500 to class members and resigned members.
• Moorhead also restricted that the annual dues shall not be more than $12,500 for the next two years.
It's not all about the Benjamins
Neither the bankruptcy auction nor the class action ruling stipulates what Cordillera golf courses or facilities will be open and which will not.
And that is the crux of the matter.
Cordillera Club members sued Wilhelm for up to $108 million, claiming Wilhelm breached their membership agreement by failing to open three of Cordillera's four golf courses. He had promised in writing that all of Cordillera's facilities and course would operate.
They say Wilhelm collected at least $8 million in dues before announcing he would not open three of three golf courses and laying off dozens of workers. They demanded their dues be returned, however the class action ruling did not include that.
Wilhelm sued them because he said they were trying to run him out of business and take over the club.
In one of the more curious twists, Cordillera Club members were still expected to pay $1,750 a year, according to an email from the Cordillera Club staff, even though they said many of the businesses there were closed.
Before members started leaving the club, it carried 650 members, $1.1 million annually to the club's owner, if they had paid it.
Then there was Mort Mulliken's Cordillera caper. Mulliken was among those who asked his credit card company to stop payment on his dues and was suspended. When he tried to play golf at Cordillera's Valley course, an Eagle County Sheriff's deputy ticketed him as he finished the first nine holes and escorted him off the property.
But Wilhelm said all that is behind them now.
"Reaching long-lasting accord with our members and Cordillera homeowners, and restoring the club to excellence are our fundamental objectives. Our goal is to work with the new management team, staff and the community to bring back the magic of Cordillera and, ideally, see the restoration of property values and home values that have suffered during the process," Wilhelm said in a written statement.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.