Four creditors who said they invested a combined $4.65 million into the now-defunct Yellowstone Club World resort have gone to court, seeking to get their money back.
Created by former timber tycoon Tim Blixseth, the club was envisioned as a global replica of Blixseth's ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club, a millionaires-only Montana resort that boasts a private ski hill south of Bozeman.
For a $1.5 million deposit, Yellowstone Club World members were promised access to luxury accommodations at multimillion-dollar estates in Scotland, France, Mexico and the Caribbean. But fewer than a dozen people bought into the arrangement, and the club never got off the ground.
The concept was abandoned last year after Blixseth sold the enterprise to his former wife, Edra Blixseth, as part of the couple's divorce settlement.
The original Yellowstone Club in Montana is now under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with debts approaching $400 million. That leaves Edra Blixseth under intense pressure to come up with a reorganization plan by Feb. 13 or face losing the club.
The pressure intensified this week with the filing of a Chapter 7 federal bankruptcy petition by Yellowstone Club World creditors. The four creditors are seeking to force the liquidation of the entity's assets.
Court filings show that Thomas Hook of Houston is seeking $150,000 and that $1.5 million is sought by each of three people: Angus MacNaughton of Danville, Calif., Edgar Rainin of Berkeley, Calif., and Yoav Rubinstein of Toronto. Attorneys for the men did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
In the wake of the Blixseths' bitter divorce, it is uncertain whether any Yellowstone Club World assets remain to fight over.
Control of the four international estates was split following the breakup. Edra Blixseth got the golf resort in Scotland and a castle in France, while Tim Blixseth got the estate in Mexico and a private island in the Caribbean.
Edra Blixseth is now attempting to sell the castle, Chateau de Farcheville, for about $65 million. Tim Blixseth recently put his 5-acre Caribbean island up for sale for $75 million.
A spokesman for Edra Blixseth said only that the membership deposits were considered assets of Yellowstone Club World. That could effectively shield her two properties from the bankruptcy proceedings.
Spokesman Bill Keegan added that those deposits already had been spent by the time Edra Blixseth took control last August.
"There were no assets left. It was already insolvent," Keegan said.
Tim Blixseth indicated in an e-mail sent Tuesday to The Associated Press that he no longer had any involvement in the matter.
"Edra bought that entity and assumed all YCW (Yellowstone Club World) membership obligations," he wrote. "Too bad she did not honor her obligation."