Spanish Trail Country Club files for bankruptcy

Facing foreclosure in less than two weeks, the elite Spanish Trail Country Club filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Wednesday.

Spanish Trail, with 27 holes of golf spread throughout the eponymous 640-acre gated community in western Las Vegas, listed between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities but assets valued at less than $10 million. However, by far the largest debt in the case is the mortgage, with a $13.5 million balance held by a subsidiary of Jackson National Life Insurance company.

Hermitage Management, listed in Jackson National documents as a wholly owned advertising agency, declared a default on May 11 and was proceeding to a Sept. 7 foreclosure sale. The debt covers only the course, the clubhouse and some related amenities — not homes.

The original $15 million loan was taken out in April 2007 for a period of 15 years to remodel the clubhouse and nine holes, club spokesman Steve Stern said. Subsequently, while the economy was still strong, dues were raised by an unspecified amount to cover the cost.

“We are calling this ‘the year of the renaissance at Spanish Trail,'” then-general manager Dominic Guzzo said at the time.

For a while, the club was able to cover the mortgage payments, Stern said. But as the economy sank, nearly half of the members headed for the exit, dropping the total from 745 four years ago to 382 now.

The club is a nonprofit corporation with the members also sitting as part-owners. A dozen were listed among the 20 largest unsecured creditors, most owed about $4,000 for prepaid dues.

The Las Vegas Valley Water District was by far the largest outside creditor at nearly $120,000, while the Spanish Trail Master Homeowners Association claimed $62,000.

The club, started in 1984, billed itself on its website as “an exclusive haven of timeless elegance” and “a world of luxury and privilege, where the pleasures of benefit are many.” Besides the golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., membership includes a swimming pool, tennis courts and a 50,000 square-foot clubhouse with banquet facilities.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at
toreiley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290.

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