When will Gypsum’s Cotton Ranch Golf course open?
GYPSUM, Colorado ” It’s traditional opening date in mid-March is quickly approaching, but no one yet knows if golfers will be teeing off at Cotton Ranch in Gypsum, Colorado for the 2009 season.
Thursday afternoon, Courtroom 2 at the Eagle County Justice Center was packed with Cotton Ranch residents and golf club members anxious to learn what awaits the financially troubled Gypsum facility. PMC Commercial Trust, the lender for the golf club, requested District Court Judge Fred Gannett name a receiver for the property to ensure the company’s assets are protected as anticipated foreclosure actions proceed.-
Gannett complied with that request, with a caveat. M. Neal Eckard, of Indiana-based Summit Asset Management, was provisionally named as the Cotton Ranch Golf Club receiver. Gannett instructed Eckhart and attorneys from both PMC and MTG Development LLC ” the company that currently hold the majority ownership and manages the Cotton Ranch Golf Club ” to develop a scope of work for the receiver including a proposal for operating the course during the 2009 season.
Tim Garton, one of the principal partners in MTG, said he was delighted by Tuesday’s court proceeding. “The Gartons have loaned large amounts of money to keep the golf course open. We have now run out of the ability to do that ourselves.”
Tuesdays action was the latest court proceeding in what is becoming an increasingly litigious situation. Two of the Cotton Ranch principal partners-” Garton and Vince Cook-” are involved in a lawsuit regarding loans made to and management of the facility. That case will be heard in Eagle County District Court on March 16.
Additionally- a lawsuit has been filed in Texas regarding the facility’s finances.
During Tuesday’s hearing, MTG’s attorney conceded that the golf club management company was in default to its lender. According to Robert Cantrell of PMC, the company failed to make its payments in October, November and December of 2008 as well as its January 2009 payment. Additionally, he alleged that required insurance had not been paid, utilities were not paid and money had not be escrowed for taxes.
“We are fearful the property is not being run and maintained,” he said.
Gary Cohen, representing MTG, countered by admitting some default but noting the finances of Cotton Ranch Golf Club are at issue in the Texas lawsuit and that litigation will ultimately determine the exact amount owed. Cohen objected to naming Eckard as receiver, saying the managing partners wanted an assurance that the golf course would open this spring as a stipulation for the court’s appointment.
That provision may or may not be part of the ultimate agreement, but the attorneys now have until 12 days to work out the details of the receivership. They will be back before Judge Gannett on Feb. 10 to present their plan.
In the meantime, Cotton Ranch and Gypsum officials have continued an informal discussion about a possible town purchase of the property.
“We are still just kicking the tires on this deal, seeing if we are interested,” said Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll on Thursday.
For his part, Garton said it was still very premature to talk about the town purchasing the course. “The town is very interested in seeing the course stay open,” he added.
While many Cotton Ranch residents and club members were present for Thursday’s hearing, none of the several spectators contacted wanted to comment about the results of Thursday’s receiver hearing.