Bank is the only bidder | ParkRecord.com

Bank is the only bidder

David Hampshire, The Park Record

Second verse – same as the first.

In a replay of the sheriff’s sale in Wasatch County on Oct. 29, Wells Fargo was the only bidder Tuesday in a Summit County sheriff’s sale of Talisker corporate holdings at the 3rd District Court building at Silver Summit. Even the bid amount and the man submitting it were the same.

George W. Pratt, an attorney representing Wells Fargo & Company, submitted a credit bid of $35 million on behalf of the bank, just as he had done in Wasatch County 19 days earlier. The bidding took place in the lobby outside the courtroom in front of about 60 developers, Realtors, and other interested onlookers. Pratt said his company, Jones, Waldo, Holbrook & McDonough, was hired to represent Wells Fargo during the foreclosure process.

The land involved in Tuesday’s sale had been used as collateral on loans dating to 2010. In February, Wells Fargo sued several Talisker entities on behalf of itself and another lender, claiming the loans were not repaid as required. Wells Fargo was awarded a $165.9 million judgment, which led to the sheriff’s sales in Wasatch and Summit counties.

The land in Tuesday’s sale involves properties in Bonanza Flats, Tuhaye, Red Cloud and Empire Pass. Some of that property was previously owned by United Park City Mines, which Talisker acquired in 2004. However, the land underlying most of the Park City Mountain Resort terrain was not involved in the lawsuit or Tuesday’s auction.

"We’re into this $70 million, and the judgment is $165 million, so we have a big deficiency," Pratt said after the sale. "But still there’s more collateral – there’s collateral in both Summit and Wasatch and Salt Lake counties that hasn’t been sold yet. The property that’s remaining in Summit and Wasatch is all the property that comprises the Talisker Club."

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Pratt said the Talisker Club includes the private golf club and the clubhouse at Tuhaye.

"That (golf course) is still owned by the original entities, but there has been no sale of that property, and there may not be," he said. "A receiver was appointed at the beginning of the case and the receiver doesn’t own the property but has authority from the court to operate the property."

Pratt said that the Salt Lake County property involves some mining claims.

Longtime Park City Realtor Jess Reid said after the sale that he expects Wells Fargo to start looking for buyers for the property.

"They’ve probably got suitors in the wings now, ever since they announced this was happening if not before – they being Wells Fargo. So they do this credit bid, then they take control, and now they don’t have to deal at all with Talisker and the legalities and all the complexity of all the companies in the background," Reid said.

"Probably it’ll bring more money if you break up the parcels instead of trying to sell it with everything together. So once they kind of get all remnants of Talisker out of the way, then Wells Fargo could turn around and start making deals."

Reid said he wasn’t too surprised that Wells Fargo was the only bidder.

"I looked around the room, and it was weird. I knew almost everybody in there. And I didn’t see but two or three guys that I know that might have had the backing to buy anything. I think most of the guys were there to find out firsthand what’s going to happen in the next step."

In an email to The Park Record, Wells Fargo spokesperson Elise Wilkinson gave this statement: "We will explore all long-term options for the Talisker properties that will address the needs of all parties involved, including the community."

Wilkinson also said that all the Wasatch and Summit county properties have now been foreclosed with the exception of the Tuhaye golf course and the Tower ski club.