Thursday, February 15, 2007

Broken Top Lawsuits: So Let It Be Written, So Let It Be Done.

Discontent Grows At Broken Top - Several Members Seek Legal Action

And so begins the lawsuit phase of the Broken Top Golf Course Shell Game fiasco intimated on the previous post. This Bend Bulletin article points out that the home owners are keeping their eye on the money:

"We're just trying to protect ourselves and keep everybody as calm as we can," said Ron Webber, president of the homeowners association. "The thing that's tragic about all of this are the fears and the uncertainties that it's creating in this otherwise calm and peaceful community. And that is sad."

Of course they want to douse the "fear and uncertainty" because those things are bad for home prices. Of course, once the Genie is out of the bottle (aphorism for "bloodsucking lawyers have got a taste for fresh meat and want to rip every living thing within 100 miles to shreds and devour it in a bloodthirsty frenzy"), its hard to stuff it back in.

Whoever the Seattle Ghost buyer is, they should realize they are shooting themselves in the foot by doing this. The richest people in the Seattle area are as follows:

  • Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, and Charles Simonyi (Microsoft)
  • Jeff Bezos (
  • Craig McCaw (Cellular and wireless)
  • James Jannard (Oakley sunglasses)
  • John Orin Edson (Boats)
  • Howard Schultze - (Starbucks)
Is it one of these guys? Hard to tell, all are secretive & rich as hell, and the scale of the Broken Top development means it's someone with a decent pile in the bank. None is directly in the real estate trade, but I'll bet most if not all, have a family trust that will buy just about anything they think will throw off worry-free cash for the next 50 years. The current unpleasant circumstances make me think they may well be already gearing up for a sale...

I don't know why, but the Microsofties don't seem the type to do this sort of thing so far from home base, they all own a lot of RE near them. Besides, Bill Gates is under such a microscope, it'd be hard for him to do anything & make it stay a secret for long. The bottom 3 also don't seem the RE type. Not like I'm tight with any of them, but my money is on Bezos (he's bought some sagebrush out in TX), but mostly on McCaw. McCaw is the only one on the list with even remote ties to Bend. His new Clearwire venture is busting out all over Cent OR, and I actually had Clearwire door-to-door guys here a few weeks ago. Pretty thin, eh?

So there you have it, I predicted a lawsuit after essentially being told a lawsuit was coming & am now a predictive sage. My money is on Craig McCaw, his siblings, and their family trust as The dreaded Broken Top Busting Seattle Ghost. I will now go buy a lottery ticket which has about the same chance of being hitting the numbers. And all based on some door-to-door salesmen. You can take that to the bank.


IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Welp, it could also be the eclectic investment stylings of Paul Allen. His Vulcan Investment vehicle buys just about anything, from Bangladesh power plants to the South Lake Union development, a Seattle development. Although Vulcan is not a trust, you never know if similar investment ideas spill over into other areas of ones life

Anonymous said...

You might be onto something but I think you've missed out another very real possible lawsuit...The new owners vs. the seller, Bauhofer. Seems to me that someone with that much money to throw around would not have entered into this mess if they knew the whole story beforehand. I'm sure their lawyers reviewed the CCR's and zoning before the purchase but there were probably some insinuations made concerning neighborhood response, etc that were made by the seller or their representatives that were not entirely accurate. Or it may be that they are just that arrogant to think they can do whatever they want. Time will tell as the saga unfolds.....

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

You might be onto something but I think you've missed out another very real possible lawsuit...The new owners vs. the seller, Bauhofer.

Hell, that's the first thing I thought! "Why are they not all over the sleaze ball who did this?" From what I've read so far I'd keep my hands on my wallet if I was within 100yds of this Bauhofer guy.

That are obviously many aspects, legal & otherwise, I am not privy to, but Bauhofer seemed to take every advantage of this situation and exploit it to the hilt. And maybe beyond. The guy is sleazy.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, there were zero signs of due diligence on the part of the "new buyers". Had there been they would have realized that the Broken Top master planned unit development is not re-developable.

So far all signs point back to Don B. If you recall Don B used intimidation to sell the equity shares. Basically if his plan A (400 equity members over 10 years) was not accepted he was going to turn Broken Top into a public course - Plan B. Now Don B. is tired of waiting and watching non equity members fleeing so less revenue from monthly dues. Even a couple equity members abandoned.

So to accelerate purchase of the club by the equity members a new scheme is devised: The club is sold and its going to be redeveloped. How quaint. Now the scared equity members come a running ready to buy out Don B. As soon as the equity members got an attorney guess who was a knocking? Remember Don B. only bought the Broekn Top course because it was a package deal with the very valuable Tetherow land. He didn't want the hassle of a money losing golf club. So once again the emperor has no clothes.

Anonymous said...

IHTBYB I thought you said BT Club members deals were all done on a wink and a nod boss hog style? Or were you talking out of your ass once again?

Anonymous said...

Watch KTVZ Broken Top Coverage Here

Bend Bear said...

Not that houses were selling like hotcakes out there before this came up, expect a virtual "freeze" on any transactions until this is resolved. Can't imagine anyone buying (or foolish enough to list) with all of the uncertainty.

NotAnotherDestinationResort said...

Ballsy Coward said...

"He didn't want the hassle of a money losing golf club."

And who exactly does want that kind of hassle?

Anonymous said...

"And who exactly does want that kind of hassle?"

Someone who stands to make millions developing prime West side property. ...but maybe that person was so over leveraged they had to get out underneath the burden. The real answer is to open the BT Club to the public. Central Oregon has over capacity when it comes to golf courses. Yet they continue to build them to meet the destination resort requirements.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

expect a virtual "freeze"

Yup, that's what I thought. Even once it's resolved, IF its resolved, it seems like it might leave a bad taste in peoples mouths. People are starting to wonder just exactly what they're getting, after the BT fiasco and the Mountain High golf course drying up

This Bauhofer guy clearly strong-armed some of those B-Toppers into become equity owners, and then just totally screwed them. Man, I would be PISSED.

Anonymous said...


It's boom and bust for Northwest golf

Scott Oki, the former Microsoft executive who has the staying power and wealth to weather a prolonged bear market, keeps buying courses, rather than selling them. Oki Golf now owns and operates nine courses — two of them private — with the recent purchases of Washington National and Trophy Lake.

"I'm proud of our portfolio of courses," said Oki, who remains free of the real-estate business, long a partner of golf and quite often its savior.

Oki has been in the golf business for 13 years. He knows its ups and downs. Ten years ago he was in the process of building his own temple to golf, Newcastle, high in the hills above Bellevue.

"I'm tickled pink with Newcastle," he said. "It is our trophy property, two courses, great views, and with the clubhouse a wonderful venue for corporate outings and weddings.

"We have no regrets having built it."

But Oki is one of the few owners who could have survived owning Newcastle the past few years. Expenses have been greater than expected while green fees (a one-round card now costs $75) are lower than projected.

"Today," he acknowledged, "we couldn't afford the significant overruns we had building Newcastle. Microsoft stock was appreciating when we built it. In today's market, if we had to do it all over again we wouldn't do it."

Anonymous said...

A moment with ... philanthropist and entrepreneur Scott Oki

On the local golf business: "It's definitely a buyer's market."

"We are always looking to acquire more golf courses."

"They all want a lot more money than they are worth. ... So, we are patient."