Attorney is critical of ASC |

Attorney is critical of ASC

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Attorney Joe Tesch represents Summit County resident Lee Hindin who would like to buy property Summit County owns at The Canyons that must be sold to raise money to build a golf course at the resort.

As the master developer at The Canyons, American Skiing Co., the resort’s parent company, failed to complete the course on time in 2002 as a development agreement required.

The so-called Resort Village Management Association (RVMA) at The Canyons, the independent group supposedly overseeing development of the golf course on behalf of the landowners, is responsible for finding a buyer for the Summit County land.

"It’s a great idea that you don’t have ASC control this property," Tesch told the Summit County Commission referring to the property that is to be sold to raise money to build the golf course.

But the Resort Village Management Association has failed to represent all property owners at the resort because most of its decision-making board members are closely tied to American Skiing Co., Tesch explained, alleging that conflicts of interest burden the body.

Tim Vetter, a vice president at The Canyons who is president of the RVMA, countered that ASC executives do not influence the board that was formed to ensure each landowner at the resort contributes money or property to build the golf course.

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"The RVMA board represents all of the participants and has worked very hard to do that," said Vetter, who rejected Tesch’s claims that bosses at American Skiing have unduly influenced the body.

"We want to make sure that [selling the property] works for what it was intended, and that is to make sure that we have the money for the golf course," Vetter said.

Summit County will own the land in question until the Resort Village Management Association agrees to sell the property, RVMA director JoAnne Nadalin said.

"We’re not at the point of financing the golf course, so it seems like it’s relatively premature to get into a discussion of whether somebody is going to be treated fairly and equitably," she said referring to allegations made by Tesch that Hindin has been treated poorly.

The Resort Village Management Association has "absolutely no grudge against [Hindin] or Joe Tesch," Nadalin claimed.

This week Richer chided Tesch in a testy exchange between the men for alleging that county officials backed away from their commitment to allow the land to be sold by restricting who it is sold to.

"We feel like you were aggressively asserting an incorrect assumption," Richer told Tesch, adding that Tesch has placed an "illegal lien" on the property in the form of a "notice of interest." "We just want to make sure that you understand that we don’t feel that we’re going back on something that we said."

He placed the notice of interest on the property on behalf of Hindin to ensure that hundreds of thousands of dollars Hindin spent performing due diligence before attempting to purchase the land was not wasted, Tesch countered.

The Resort Village Management Association is controlled by American Skiing Co. officials with whom Hindin has disagreed, the attorney charged, adding that his client has "criticized ASC."

"It is certainly our impression that ASC has bent over backwards and is very motivated to get the golf course going," Richer replied.

Richer insists the county isn’t in the business of selling real estate and won’t prevent the sale of the property.

Past debt incurred by American Skiing Co. prompted the publicly traded company this year to sell five resorts, including Steamboat in Colorado and Killington in Vermont.

American Skiing Company executives refused to say whether The Canyons is for sale as shares of the company’s stock, which was removed from the New York Stock Exchange for underperforming, traded recently on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board for around 24 cents.