Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fraud alleged in resort case

The general manager of Chandler's Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort harmed the value of the resort by improperly transferring real estate owned by the resort to the general partner, the resort's lender says.

The transfer was made about six months before the owners filed for bankruptcy protection, Guaranty Bank and Trust Co. alleges in court papers.

Losing the real estate, known as the Bogle house, will hurt the chances of getting an optimum price in a sale of the resort, the bank says. Guaranty's foreclosure proceedings stalled when the resort filed bankruptcy earlier this year.

Sean O'Brien of Phoenix, an attorney for the resort's owners, denied wrongdoing by his clients.

"We categorically dispute those allegations," he said last week.

The bank's court pleading, which implies infighting among the owners, says the general manager, Frank Heavlin, transferred the Bogle property on Sept. 24. He recorded a deed giving the property to the general partner, apparently for no payment, according to the court papers.

The resort's owner is Denver-based San Marcos Capital Partners LP, and the general partner is San Marcos Resort Investors LLC. Managers and members of the general partnership are Robert E. Bigelow and brothers Joseph A. Witt Jr. and Jeffrey B. Witt, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission. The three men are from the Denver area.

Since the owner is a limited partnership, only the general partner can be responsible for the debt. The series of entities are designed to limit liability.

Guaranty Bank and Trust's allegations of Heavlin's property transfer appear in court papers filed last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The bank asked the court to dismiss the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, convert it to Chapter 7 or appoint a trustee "because it is in the best interest of debtor's creditors and equity security holders."

The bank alleges "fraud, dishonesty and gross mismanagement of the estate by (the resort's) principals."

A court hearing is set for June 6.

by Luci Scott The Arizona Republic May. 21, 2011 12:00 AM

Fraud alleged in resort case

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