Cordillera lays off two golf-course crews | VailDaily.com

Cordillera lays off two golf-course crews

Vail Daily file photo

EDWARDS – Cordillera’s owner laid off two golf-course crews Thursday morning after announcing that he’s opening only one of his four golf courses.

In a letter to property owners Wednesday, Cordillera Club owner David Wilhelm said that only Cordillera’s Valley Club golf course would open this summer. Then Thursday morning, Cordillera laid off crews from both its Summit Course and Mountain Course – as many as 40 jobs, crew members said.

Those workers were called into a room, given a speech and handed a check for two days’ pay, Cordillera staff sources said. When it was over, they all drove down together and on to whatever is next in their lives.

College students planning to work there this summer learned Thursday that they had no jobs.

“I think we have a tragic situation that has impacted the lives of many innocent people, some of whom have invested many years of service, some of whom are interns who just arrived expecting a job,” said Bob Vanourek, with the Cordillera Transition Corp.

No one was answering the phones Thursday afternoon at Cordillera.

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“We’re very disappointed that, contrary to his previous assurances, he has decided to open only one course this season,” Vanourek said.

Most years, the Summit Course would not be open until the first or second week of June, and it would be about that long before the Mountain Course opened, Cordillera sources said. A Jimmie Heuga Center fundraiser tournament was set for next month at the Mountain Course, at $375 per player.

Cordillera’s Short Course has an operating agreement at the Lodge at Cordillera, so it will likely stay open, Cordillera staff sources said. But last year, Cordillera members played only 22 rounds on the Short Course.

Golf courses cannot be left alone; they deteriorate quickly, said one of the crew members. If it’s closed a month, it might not matter how much money is spent on the courses in July and August, those two courses might not be playable this summer.

On Tuesday, Wilhelm raised the stakes with a $96.5 million lawsuit against Cordillera’s property owners associations, the Cordillera Transition Corporation, and several individuals who serve on those boards. He called them “CTC Conspirators” in his lawsuit, and said they were trying to squeeze him into bankruptcy.

“We have looked at his allegations and we strongly deny them. We are preparing an appropriate response and we’re committed to work diligently on behalf of all the Cordillera stakeholders, property owners, club members who are not property owners and employees,” Vanourek said.

Wilhelm and Cordillera’s property owner associations have been hammering each other for a year.

Wilhelm says the business has been hemorrhaging millions of dollars since he took over in 2009, and blames Cordillera’s members and property owners associations for most of his troubles.

Wilhelm says 180 people have said they’ll terminate their Cordillera Club memberships – $13,800 a year – and he blames the CTC and other boards for that, too.

Alpine Bank is backing away from Cordillera. The regional bank hired Mission Capital Advisors to auction its $12.7 million loan to Wilhelm.

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