Sunapee

TomWhiteTomWhite advanced
in NELSAP Forum Posts: 476

New ski resort operator in New Hampshire
raising concern

By Michael Casey | AP August 22      Washington Post

NEWBURY,
N.H. — The new operator of a popular ski resort in New Hampshire faced off
against concerned residents, some of whom fear the company’s past legal
troubles raise doubts about whether it was the right choice to oversee the
facility.

New
York hedge fund manager Och-Ziff Capital Management assumed ownership of 14
properties held by CNL Lifestyle Properties last year including the lease at
Mount Sunapee Resort in New Hampshire. CNL will receive about $830 million in
cash and stock under the purchase and sale agreement.

Among
the other properties were Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine, Crested Butte in
Colorado, Brighton in Utah and Sierra-at-Tahoe in California.

At a
public hearing on the sale Tuesday, dozens of residents filled a meeting room
at the base of the resort to hear about Och-Ziff’s plans. Some brought signs
protesting the fact that the state-owned property was being run by a private
owner, including one that read, “Mount Sunapee Park is an Endangered Species”
and another that read, “Don’t Mortgage Our State Park.”

Despite
the state’s assurances that the sale wouldn’t impact operations, several people
who live near the resort or ski there worried about the company’s intentions
and its past record.

The
company reached a settlement last year with the Department of Justice and the
Securities and Exchange Commission regarding bribery allegations in Africa. The
company paid a $213 million fine in connection with what the Department of
Justice called “a widespread scheme involving the bribery of officials in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Libya.”

“We
appeal to elected state officials to begin a complete and transparent review of
this lease acquisition and all documents related to it so that the people of
New Hampshire, who are the rightful owners of the Mount Sunapee State Park, can
(be) rest assured that our state park is in the hands worthy of the public’s
trust,” Steve Russell, the president of the Friends of Mount Sunapee, told the
meeting.

Joan
Schwartz, a Sutton resident who has skied frequently at the resort, said
residents were not only uncomfortable with the bribery allegations but with the
fact the company was a hedge fund which has an “obvious interest for making
money.”

“The
concern is that once it becomes an asset of the hedge fund, it puts the
property at risk,” she added.

Comments

  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,118
    Thanks for posting -- All this time I thought Vermont had the lead in leveraging ski resorts for international scams
  • bubblecufferbubblecuffer advanced
    Posts: 262
    TomWhite said:

    Joan
    Schwartz, a Sutton resident who has skied frequently at the resort, said
    residents were not only uncomfortable with the bribery allegations but with the
    fact the company was a hedge fund which has an “obvious interest for making
    money.”

    “The
    concern is that once it becomes an asset of the hedge fund, it puts the
    property at risk,” she added.

    This helps clarify the concerns.  Thanks.  Any idea why this company is getting involved with the skiing business?  Clearly not a big money maker and Sunapee is definitely not about real estate.
     
  • slathamslatham advanced
    Posts: 152
    So the land is owned by the State, leased to Och Ziff, who in turn has contracted with Tim and Diane Mueller of Okemo to operate the mountain?
  • JonniJonni intermediate
    Posts: 32
    Yeah, that's the way it's been since the Muellers sold to CNL. Current structure: State of NH owns the property --> Och Ziff leases the property from the state and owns the buildings/lifts/facilities --> Tim & Diane Mueller/Triple Peaks LLC lease the property/buildings/lifts/facilities from Och Ziff to operate it as a ski area.
  • mapnutmapnut expert
    Posts: 822
    Which entity would be developing the west side lifts, trails and condos if that ever happens?
  • JonniJonni intermediate
    Posts: 32
    It would be the Muellers that would do the actual development. I believe once construction was complete it would become property of Och Ziff and be included in the lease back to the Muellers.
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