Golf course ‘toxic dump’; abandoning still possible

A bankruptcy judge on Monday said a golf course at Lake Las Vegas that cost $30 million to build a few years ago has become similar to a “toxic dump” that nobody wants.

Bankruptcy Judge Linda Riegle took one step toward letting a lender take possession of the Falls, but she didn’t make her final ruling.

The judge authorized Texas-based Carmel Land & Cattle Co., which holds a $15 million loan secured by the golf course, to foreclose on it Jan. 30. She delayed action on a request by Lake Las Vegas to abandon the property because she was concerned that the property includes half of a water pumping station needed at the resort community.

Riegle said she will consider whether to grant permission for Lake Las Vegas to abandon the golf course at a Jan. 15 hearing.

Foreclosure of the golf course could cost Ron Boeddeker, the previous owner of Lake Las Vegas, several million dollars because he signed a personal guaranty on the $15 million loan.

The golf course is worth less than half the $15 million owed on the loan, said Frederick Chin, president of Lake Las Vegas Joint Venture and affiliated companies.

David Stern, an attorney for Lake Las Vegas, said the golf course meets two key requirements for abandonment: It’s of inconsequential value to the bankrupt companies, and keeping the course creates a financial burden on the debtors.

The golf course, designed by former pro Tom Weiskopf, is projected to lose $2.9 million in 2009, up from $1.9 million in 2008, according to a document filed by Robert LaForgia, executive vice president of Lake Las Vegas.

John Plunkett Jr., director or real estate transactions and developments at Boeddeker’s Transcontinental Corp., however, testified that his calculations showed that the golf course was making money. He based his conclusion on the allocation of 45 percent of club dues at Lake Las Vegas to the Falls and making other financial adjustments.

Abandoning the golf course is “an absolutely terrible idea” that would cost jobs for golf course workers and “torpedo” chances of a successful Chapter 11 restructuring of Lake Las Vegas finances, said Byrm Lee Jr., an attorney for Transcontinental.

Contact reporter John G. Edwards at jedwards@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0420.

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