Brightwater may emerge from bankruptcy |

Brightwater may emerge from bankruptcy

GYPSUM – A golf course development south of Gypsum could emerge from bankruptcy this spring, says the developer.

Brightwater’s bankruptcy sale is scheduled to close this spring, says Russ Hatle, one of the investors in Clearwater Development, Brightwater’s original developer.

Hatle is also a member of Reconcile, L.L.C., one of the groups trying to buy Brightwater out of bankruptcy. The sale could be completed this spring, Hatle said.

Hatle resigned his seat on the Clearwater Development board, but is still a shareholder, he said.

Hatle is formerly the president of Clearwater, and owns a minority interest in Reconcile, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Denver.

The bankruptcy sale went through a couple bidders, and Reconcile came out as the highest bidder, Hatle said.

“There is a sale plan in place and the sale is scheduled to close this spring, sometime between Jan. 1 and April 30,” Hatle said.

The Brightwater property owners association says Hatle and his group are trying to get Brightwater back for 20 cents on the dollar.

“That would have eliminated lots of money owed to people,” the Brightwater board says on the organization’s website.

In meantime, Hatle said a “significant amount of money” was spent getting the golf course in shape last summer. Brightwater members were playing the course during August and September.

The course is put to bed for the winter and will reopen in the spring, Hatle said.

“It should be in great shape when it opens next spring,” Hatle said.

Gypsum’s not jilted

The town of Gypsum is not among Brightwater’s creditors. In fact, if there’s a winner in any of this, it might be Gypsum.

The town is “fairly free and clear,” of any debt Brightwater owes them, said Gypsum town manager Jeff Shroll. Gypsum got all of Brightwater’s senior water rights even though the project went bankrupt.

Meanwhile, right up the road, at the town’s 18-hole municipal course, Gypsum Creek golf course, rounds are up slightly, Shroll said. Around most of the country, rounds of golf played are down 20 percent.

Part of it is affordability. Eighteen holes with a cart at Gypsum Creek is still around $50.

“We want to provide the best affordable golf experience we can,” Shroll said.

Who’s owed what

Clearwater Development Inc., operator of the Brightwater Club, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last April, listing debts of more than $100 million.

In court papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Denver, Clearwater said its debt included secured claims of $69.5 million and unsecured claims of $32.8 million. Assets, mostly real estate, were $8.29 million, court documents say.

Brightwater Club describes itself on its website as a private gated community of 963 acres in the Gypsum Creek Valley, 35 miles from Vail, that includes lakes and ponds, trails and a golf course.

The largest listed creditor is Kennedy Funding Inc., with a total claim of $62.3 million, of which $57.7 million was unsecured.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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