Cordillera members pose $1M plan | VailDaily.com

Cordillera members pose $1M plan

EDWARDS, Colorado – Sinking is for someone else. Cordillera property owners want to be ready to swim.

Cordillera property owners and the metro district appointed a seven-member board to help them negotiate the kind of deal that will protect their lifestyle and property values.

The Cordillera Transition Corporation is nonprofit and, so far, none of those serving are being paid. Still, there’s a recommendation that it be provided a $1 million line of credit, just in case.

“We want to be prepared, but not pushy,” said Elise Micati, president of the Cordillera Property Owners Association.

On July 30, the world changed for Cordillera club members and Cordillera homeowners. Club at Cordillera owner David Wilhelm told members the club was running millions in the red this year, and he’d do what he needed to do to protect the Cordillera brand and make his business profitable. That included closing one or two of Cordillera’s four golf courses, and allowing public play.

A series of angry and contentious community meetings followed. Out of that emerged Cordillera’s Transition Corporation. It’s the first time Cordillera’s far-flung boards have come together under one umbrella, said Wally Carey, president of the Cordillera Valley Club Property Owners Association.

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The group has been together six weeks, and put together an 80-page package of information and recommendations.

“What was an angry community is now in the hands of a much more sober group, with orders to get it done,” Carey said. “They’ve come up with some good and creative options and all involve the owner (Wilhelm), but they’re all just possibilities.”

The board has made several recommendations, including:

• A members buyout.

• Working with the Wilhelm family.

• A third-party buyout, or a third-party partner.

• Voluntary or involuntary bankruptcy.

“Nothing is off the table,” Micati said.

And they say they want everyone around that table. Tempers have cooled in the weeks following the initial bombshells and contentious meetings.

The property owners association met last Sunday, during the Broncos game, and came away with a consensus to move forward, Micati said.

Some of the Club at Cordillera’s 650 members are threatening to withhold their 2011 dues payments, around $12,000 each.

Carey said that neither the transition corporation nor anyone else can order someone to pay for something they do not want.

But “it’s in everybody’s best interest that the membership stays stable,” Micati said.

Still, some members say that because the Wilhelms have not given them the financial information they requested, they’re reluctant to hand over more money. One possible remedy is an escrow account, Micati said.

“The property owners and club members get value from each other, but they have never been together,” Carey said. “Now there’s an opportunity to pull everything together.”

Cordillera is not the only club meeting these challenges. The board’s recommendations include some of those lessons.

From Bonita Bay, Fla., Micati says they learned they need to be united and well-financed.

So among the recommendations from Cordillera’s Transition Corporation is a $1 million fund, just to make sure they can do what they need to do. It should cover legal costs, consulting fees and anything else, Micati said.

“If we don’t need to spend the money we won’t,” Micati said. “But if you need it, you need it.”

The entire golf industry is declining, with the number of rounds played sinking since 2001, according to industry statistics.

Micati countered that those same industry statistics indicate that approximately 60 percent or those who belong to private golf clubs are golfers.

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