Cordillera Club slaps boards with $96.5 million lawsuit | VailDaily.com

Cordillera Club slaps boards with $96.5 million lawsuit

CORDILLERA – Club at Cordillera owners slapped a $96.5 million lawsuit Tuesday against property owners and board members who they say have conspired to discredit them and squeeze them out of business.

The suit was filed in District Court by David Wilhelm and the Wilhelm Family Partnership. It targets the Cordillera Transition Corporation, Cordillera Property Owners Association, other Cordillera boards, people who serve on those boards and individual property owners.

“We were forced into this,” Wilhelm said. “We believe there has been a coordinated attack against our business for almost a year.”

The suit alleges that because they conspired, those named in the suit violated the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act. If found guilty, they could be liable for triple damages, Wilhelm said.

Those named in the suit refused to be dragged into a debate Tuesday.

“The CTC has no comment on the Wilhelm allegations,” said Bob Vanourek with the Cordillera Transition Corporation. “The CTC has been and remains optimistic about the future of Cordillera.”

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Wilhelm has been at odds with some boards and their members since telling them the Club was losing money, and that he’d do whatever was necessary to make his business profitable.

Wilhelm calls them “conspirators” in his lawsuit, saying they have “engaged in a carefully orchestrated and pervasive pattern of conduct and activities designed to financially squeeze out the plaintiffs,” so they could seize ownership of the Club.

“We’re suing to save Cordillera,” Wilhelm said.

The lawsuit claims that the “insidious nature of (their) actions is harming not only the plaintiffs, but also the hundreds of innocent property owners, Club members and others.”

Wilhelm accuses the boards and property owners of trying to force him into bankruptcy, so they could buy the Club for pennies on the dollar.

It’s not likely he could file bankruptcy, he said.

“We owe $12.7 million and it’s a $50 million asset,” Wilhelm said.

In a letter last summer to Club members, Wilhelm said they lost $1.8 million in 2009 and forecast a $6 million loss in 2010. His cost-cutting options included closing one or two of Cordillera’s four courses and allowing public play.

The CTC’s accounting review says the Club at Cordillera lost approximately $10.7 million between June 2009 and October 2010.

“I have been 100 percent transparent,” Wilhelm said. “I thought all this would have stopped with the audit.”

He said recent negotiations with property owners associations have been fruitless. He said their attempt to cast the Wilhelms as “thieves” was the first strategy to “undermine and sabotage” their investment interest in the Club.

“We hope new leadership will emerge and we can negotiate in good faith,” Wilhelm said.

Wally Carey, who has been president of the Cordillera Valley Club board for 13 years, said he’s “watched a visionary friend be maligned,” referring to Wilhelm.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.