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Wisp ski resort owner talks with prospective buyers

Associated Press//May 31, 2012

Wisp ski resort owner talks with prospective buyers

By Associated Press

//May 31, 2012

HAGERSTOWN — The owners of Wisp, Maryland’s only ski resort, have met with a number of potential buyers in their efforts to stave off financial failure, one of the partners said Thursday.

But selling the western Maryland resort is not inevitable, as one of the group’s major creditors claimed in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing this week, said co-owner Karen Myers.

“We have conducted numerous site visits but I don’t know of anything in writing yet to move forward on,” Myers said.

She said she expects D.C. Development LLC to file a plan of reorganization or debt restructuring that may preclude a sale of its assets. Besides the ski resort on Marsh Mountain near Deep Creek Lake, the group owns a nearby golf course community called Lodestone. The partners blame slower-than-expected sales of Lodestone home sites for the financial woes that prompted them to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October.

In a May 11 filing, D.C. Development said its investment banker, SSG Capital Advisors, has contacted 258 potential buyers and signed agreements giving 13 of them access to the group’s confidential financial information. SSG has asked prospective buyers to submit letters of intent by mid-June, according to the document.

D.C. Development is seeking a 120-day extension of a court-imposed, June 11 deadline for filing its reorganization plan. The partners said they expect to reach agreements soon that would ease their financial distress but that the process may not be finalized or implemented by June 11.

Oakland-based First United Bank & Trust, which is owed $12 million, opposes a deadline extension. In a filing Tuesday, the bank said a sale or liquidation of the group’s assets seems inevitable given the partner’s negative cash flow, dwindling resources and the tight credit market. The bank said it expects the partners to run out of cash for ski operations by October.

In an earlier filing, First United said last winter’s mild weather and poor ski season had hastened D.C. Development’s slide toward financial ruin.

Myers said Thursday that Wisp ended the winter in better shape than many other ski resorts by trimming expenses.

“We are, and will continue to do, business as usual,” she said.


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