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Guest editorial

It was with great interest that I read the article "From celebrated CEO to Park City pariah." Since I am an owner who rented my condo through David Holland’s Resort Lodging (DHRL) and who among many others was not paid my rental revenue for the 2008-09 season, Barbara Zimonja’s perspective of, and rationale for, her company’s failure was of interest.

I am appalled that not once did she express remorse or offer an apology for either taking collected rental revenue in violation of contracts from owners who entrusted her company to manage their units, or not paying them the earned collected revenue as per those contracts. Not once did she address the hardships imposed upon owners who were robbed of their contractual revenue.

Owners of rental properties are important to Park City tourism. Owners have many expenses maintaining high-end rental properties: upgrades, repairs, insurance, HOA dues, special assessments, taxes, and mortgages. These investment properties barely break even for most. Non-payment of contractual funds by diversion to other uses created an undue financial burden for owners.

Ms. Zimonja justifies her reallocation of rental revenue from owners to her own business ventures by stating, "There is no impropriety with doing that at all, we were using business funds to fund the business." HOGWASH! Premiere (and DHRL) was not entitled to use the owners’ revenue for its own business expenses and investments. While Utah’s law does not require said funds to be escrowed or placed in a trust fund, it is highly unethical to take money that contractually belongs to owners and use it for other business expenses or ventures.

Ms. Zimonja, through her company, took owners’ rental revenue to fund other projects, as per the article. She invested in property development in another state, admittedly using revenue which belonged to owners. (As per a previous Park Record article, the owners of rental property in South Carolina were also deprived of their rental income.)

It appears that these property management companies played with fire by over-extending their operations and by stretching their operating expenses beyond budget. They have had the audacity to blame their collapse on either forced bankruptcy initiated by owners or the economy. It further appears that the "perfect storm" bringing about the collapse of these two companies was the combination of their own greed, ineptness, and unethical business practices.

Should Ms. Zimonja decide to mentor small businesses in the future as she states in the article, one would hope it would be in the same vein as Michael Milken. Based on her own admissions reported in the article, pariah is a well-deserved title.

I would suggest that the Park Record interview employees of these two companies who not only lost their jobs, but also their health benefits, retirement benefits, etc. These employees and the owners are the true victims of this calamity. The online comments posted to this article are a far more accurate and truthful assessment of Premiere’s damage to employees and owners than the drivel reported by the author/editor in the interview. This article, as written, is an insult to the former employees and owners. (see http://www.parkrecord.com )

I am amazed at the continued absence of investigation and prosecution by David Brickey (Summit Co. DA), Paul Christiansen (asst. DA), and the Park City Police Department. Despite numerous filings of fraud and theft, there have been no indictments or forensic investigations. Not only did these companies defraud employees of paychecks and benefits and defraud owners of rental revenue, they also defrauded Park City and the State of Utah of nightly rental taxes, monies which were paid by renters and collected by these businesses. What more do these "law enforcers" need to prosecute?

In conclusion, I hope I don’t read a similar cry-baby interview with David Zatz (DHRL).


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