Cordillera: Charges against golfer dropped
EDWARDS, Colorado – Mr. Mulliken you are free to golf, just not at Cordillera.
When we last visited Mort Mulliken, five-time Club at Cordillera golf champion, he’d been ticketed for trespassing on the only Cordillera golf course opened this summer. He was playing golf after Cordillera owner David Wilhelm suspended him for having the gall to be among the many club members to ask for 75 percent of their dues money back – reasoning that if Wilhelm was only going to open 25 percent of Cordillera’s four golf courses, they should only have to pay 25 percent of their dues.
So, in what we’ll call civil disobedience, Mort showed up to play some golf one bright Saturday morning, insisting he’d be playing some golf in exchange for the 100 percent of his dues that he says Wilhelm kept.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene of the crime, the ninth green on Cordillera’s Valley course, in a golf cart.
The deputy who wrote the ticket agreed to wait to wrap Mulliken in the long arm of the law until Mulliken sank a 6-foot birdie putt, which he did, leaving him two under after nine.
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Mulliken was ticketed for trespassing.
Mulliken’s attorney, Terry O’Connor, said the district attorney’s office dismissed the case.
That aborted plans by friends and club members for a “Free Mort” rally outside the courthouse on his court date.
With the ticket, Wilhelm removed Mulliken from the club member roles.
However, Wilhem still has Mulliken’s dues money.
“It doesn’t seem fair since he has all my 2011 dues,” Mulliken said.
During a Cordillera Metro District meeting earlier this summer attended by a couple hundred people, members who’d run afoul of Wilhelm were getting emails on their phones saying they’d been suspended.
Mulliken says his credit card company told him club members are not likely to get their dues refunded.
The Cordillera Club has between 600 and 650 members. If they all paid their dues, Wilhelm has collected more than $8 million so far this year, club members say.
Wilhelm assured members, repeatedly and in writing, that all four Cordillera golf courses would be open, according to documents accompanying the lawsuit members filed against Wilhelm.
Wilhelm sued the Cordillera Transition Corporation for $96.5 million, alleging that they’re trying to run him out of the business so they can take over. The next day he sent a letter to members saying the Valley Course would be the only one open this summer.
Some members countersued Wilhelm, saying he breached the membership contract, asking for their $8 million and all the membership money ever paid – as much as $100 million.
The club members are now suing the Wilhelms as a class action, court documents show.
Then last Friday, Patrick Wilhelm, David Wilhelm’s son and part of the Wilhelm Family Partnership, told the courts he wants to abandon ship. Patrick filed a motion saying he is no longer a partner in the Wilhelm Family Partnership, and has had no decision-making authority since Jan. 1, when he transferred his entire interest to David.
Patrick may have committed “wrongful acts,” and their attorneys would continue looking into it, said club members.
“We will in due course file an answer opposing his dismissal,” said an email sent to members last week.
Club members point out that, among other things, Patrick’s signature and name are right there on many of the documents sent to members this year.
Patrick’s attorney, Michelle Prud’Homme, was less than thrilled.
“The plaintiffs, when presented with evidence that Patrick Wilhelm could not and did not wield the power to pursue any of the trumped up allegations contained in their frivolous complaint, simply replied that he could have committed wrongful acts,” Prud’Homme wrote in the motion filed Friday.
It will take about two years to work its way through the Eagle County courts, assuming that the Wilhelms do not file for bankruptcy. That would shift the case to bankruptcy court.
The club members are working with local attorney Brett Heckman, class action specialists Allan Hale and Peter Krumholz of the Hale Westfall in Denver, and bankruptcy specialist Garry Appel, “so that we are well positioned and advised in the event the Wilhelm entities seek bankruptcy protection,” they said.
“We are dug in and will keep pressing the cause,” members said in their email.
In the meantime, Mulliken keeps on puttin’.
“I continue to be America’s golf guest. Just last weekend I had a delightful round at the Country Club of the Rockies,” he said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.