Cordillera Golf Club case near settlement
September 27, 2012
EDWARDS, Colorado – The Cordillera Golf Club, its members and other organizations this week announced the framework of a settlement for a couple of lawsuits and the club’s bankruptcy case. That settlement agreement calls for the current owners to sell the club by the end of this year.The golf club and its four courses were purchased by the Wilhelm Family Trust, led by family patriarch David Wilhelm, in mid-2009. At the time, the club included about 800 members, and family members talked at the time about ways to encourage more of Cordillera’s roughly 1,100 homeowners to become club members. Recent court documents in a class-action suit against the Wilhelms listed 623 people eligible to participate; 610 did join.After months of acrimony between club owners and members, the Wilhelm Family Trust sued the membership, alleging that members were trying to push out the owners and take control of the club. Members then filed that class-action suit against the club in 2011, seeking a refund of 2011 dues and membership deposits. At issue was the fact that the club opened just one of its four courses that year. Total damages could have totaled about $108 million.The lawsuits eventually involved several individuals and the Cordillera Property Owners Association, the Cordillera Transition Committee and the Official Creditors Committee.The club owners in June of this year filed for bankruptcy in a federal court in Delaware, but that case was moved to federal bankruptcy court in Denver. The litigating parties also agreed to mediation.According to a release from the club, working with a mediator “provided a framework for resolution of suits among membership and ownership over financial matters, dues structures, ownership rights and the future of the club facilities of Cordillera … ” The club and its assets will have to go to auction to be sold by the end of the year. According to the release from the club, cash bids for the club and its assets – which will be sold as a single item – will be taken until Dec. 3. If multiple bids are received, an auction will be held Dec. 10 to select the “highest and best” bid. The sale will close before Dec. 28.Cheryl Foley has been a club member since 1997, and was one of the member plaintiffs in the original suit. She said “it’s possible” that members may try to bid for the club.”A lot of work has been done before this,” Foley said.Foley demurred when asked whether she thought a member-owned club would be a good idea.”I just want the community back the way it was,” she said. “It was an active club and people were happy.” While the settlement agreement still has to be approved by the bankruptcy judge, Foley said she believes the process announced this week at least represents progress in getting the legal issues settled.”There was a lot of hard trading to get to this point,” she said.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.