Spokane Journal of Business

Schweitzer bankruptcy case officially to close

ResortÂ’s creditors received, on the average, 75 cents on the dollar, filing says

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A hearing in Boise next week is expected to close the books on the 1997 Chapter 11 reorganization of Schweitzer Mountain Resort, in which creditors were repaid an average of 75 cents on the dollar, court documents show.

Thats a very good recovery for such a case, says Ford Elsaesser, who, as court-appointed receiver, ran the ski area near Sandpoint for a year and arranged its sale in 1998 to its major creditor, U.S. Bank of Washington. The bank, in turn, sold the resort to Seattle-based Harbor Resorts LLC, which still operates it.

Elsaesser, a Sandpoint attorney, says the experience of shepherding Schweitzer through its Chapter 11 filing has been very stressful, but very satisfying.

As often happens in bankruptcy cases, different classes of creditors were repaid at different levels. The ski areas secured creditors other than U.S. Bank received 95 percent of the $4.2 million they claimed they were owed, court documents say. U.S. Bank received 72 percent of its $25.4 million claim. Unsecured creditors, or those who held no collateral, got back 66 percent of the $1.4 million they claimed they were owed.

All told, Schweitzers creditors claimed debts of nearly $31 million and were paid $23.1 million, the court filing says. The money to repay creditors was raised through the sale of Schweitzer and other properties owned by Pack River Ltd. Co. and Schweitzer Inc., two companies controlled by the Brown family that owned and operated the ski resort. The late James Brown Jr., a timber magnate, co-founded Schweitzer in 1963, and his family operated the ski area until Elsaesser took over as receiver four years ago.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boise will hold the hearing on Nov. 14 on whether to accept the final accounting of the case. If the court does accept the accounting, the motion would release Elsaesser from his duties as receiver and close the case.

  • Addy Hatch

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