Saddleback aims to open

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Comments

  • obienickobienick expert
    edited March 17 Posts: 1,115
    Majella's website isn't even working.

    One of the things they do (per Google cache) is property development. How do they expect to develop that land if they don't open the ski area?!?

    ---

    Joshua, I know the Berry's poo-pooed the non-profit buying the ski area, but it honestly doesn't look like the Majella Group will be able to pull off any sale. Did the non-profit just disband, or are they still around in the background?
  • loafasaurloafasaur intermediate
    Posts: 46
    "Farmboy" on the Sugarloaf unofficial chat is the former manager of Saddleback, still working for the Berry's, and in close communication with Majella.  Here's what he posted on 3/14/18:

    Couple of points
    1. Recording was in September
    2. They pivoted from EB5 mid fall when they realized the state wasn’t able to deliver an operating regional center in time
    3. Therefore my statements in December still hold true EB5 was part of their plan but not all of it
    4.
    You can’t get approval for an EB5 project without having a viable job
    creator. IE. a running ski resort. Two hours of tape produced the
    story they wanted with these clips
    5. The Aussie calls me at least
    twice a day during the week and once a day on the weekend. He isn’t
    getting his deposit back nor any of the other money including a lift
    deposit paid last summer. Can’t imagine anyone leaving that kind of
    money on the table
    6. If you listen to what he says I believe he’s talking about the 2017-2018 season.

    But that is my opinion. FWIW

    Farmboy
  • sugarloafsugarloaf expert
    Posts: 988
    I've had some of the best skiing days of my life at Saddleback. I probably have close to 50 days at that place.

    April 18th will mark 3 years since closing day. I'll post my pictures from that day next month on the anniversary.

    Ski Conditions Report: A detailed report describing the snow conditions on the mountain the day of your visit. Skiers should become familiar with the following snow surface descriptions: Ice: Packed Powder, Slush: Packed Powder, Frozen Granular: Packed Powder , Packed Powder - A thin covering of snow over bare earth.

  • sugarloafsugarloaf expert
    Posts: 988
    I'll be up at Sugarloaf from April 8-11th and will stop by saddleback.

    Ski Conditions Report: A detailed report describing the snow conditions on the mountain the day of your visit. Skiers should become familiar with the following snow surface descriptions: Ice: Packed Powder, Slush: Packed Powder, Frozen Granular: Packed Powder , Packed Powder - A thin covering of snow over bare earth.

  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 2,177
    Time to change the title of this thread
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220
    obienick said:

    Majella's website isn't even working.

    One of the things they do (per Google cache) is property development. How do they expect to develop that land if they don't open the ski area?!?

    ---

    Joshua, I know the Berry's poo-pooed the non-profit buying the ski area, but it honestly doesn't look like the Majella Group will be able to pull off any sale. Did the non-profit just disband, or are they still around in the background?

    The non-profit is ready to jump in.  The problem is, the assets are worth more selling off groomers, lifts, etc.. than it is worth as a ski area.  Big difference between MRG Co-op dealing with Betsy Pratt and Saddleback Mtn. Foundation dealing with the Berrys.
  • EasternPowderEasternPowder novice
    Posts: 11


    IMO, less than 5% chance that SB will ever operate again as skin area.  My sources indicate that buyers (many of the major skiing corps) are lined to buy the South Branch and Kennabago lifts.
    Who are your sources?  I haven't heard nothing of the sort...
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220


    IMO, less than 5% chance that SB will ever operate again as skin area.  My sources indicate that buyers (many of the major skiing corps) are lined to buy the South Branch and Kennabago lifts.
    Who are your sources?  I haven't heard nothing of the sort...
    You said, "I haven't heard nothing of the sort."  Too many double negatives to be sure what you are saying.  If I were to guess that you meant, "I haven't heard anything of the sort", I must ask: Who are you that you might have heard anything?
  • EasternPowderEasternPowder novice
    Posts: 11
    Typo.. * I have heard nothing of the sort.  I don't believe your sources are credible... Sounds like nothing more than negative speculation.  And those 2 lifts on the open market are not worth more than the ski area anyway...The ski area is likely worth $5 mil or so. 
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220

    Typo.. * I have heard nothing of the sort.  I don't believe your sources are credible... Sounds like nothing more than negative speculation.  And those 2 lifts on the open market are not worth more than the ski area anyway...The ski area is likely worth $5 mil or so. 
    1.  Once again: Who are you that you might have heard something?
    2.  There are many more marketable things at Saddleback than just the lifts.
    3.  Your valuation of $5M for Saddleback as a ski area is nominally correct.  What do you think the liquidation value is and for how much do you think the bank note with Skohegan is?
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220
    http://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/local/now/saddleback-local-group-waiting-in-the-wings-should-mountain-become-available/530409560

    At the time of the Majella agreement, the SMF did not have their 501(c)3. status which made it difficult for them to fund raise.  They do have it now.
  • EasternPowderEasternPowder novice
    edited March 21 Posts: 11

    Typo.. * I have heard nothing of the sort.  I don't believe your sources are credible... Sounds like nothing more than negative speculation.  And those 2 lifts on the open market are not worth more than the ski area anyway...The ski area is likely worth $5 mil or so. 
    1.  Once again: Who are you that you might have heard something? Property Owner 
    2.  There are many more marketable things at Saddleback than just the lifts. - Like what?  A few snowmaking machines that have sat idle for 3 years? Most of the grooming fleet has been repo-d...see debt below 
    3.  Your valuation of $5M for Saddleback as a ski area is nominally correct.  What do you think the liquidation value is and for how much do you think the bank note with Skohegan is?  Yes it is...$3mil (ish) liquidation value with about $5mil of Debt 
    See above

    Bottom line is that the Assets are not worth more than the ski area which by the way we both agree isn't much, but is worth more than the assets...Certainly not enough spread there to justify a liquidation. 

    So again, who are your sources? I know all the players up there...
  • TomWhiteTomWhite expert
    Posts: 620

    Prospective Saddleback buyer
    disputes claim that he just wants resort for immigrant visas

     

    By Lori
    Valigra
    • March 15, 2018 10:28 am

    Updated: March 15, 2018 12:11 pm

    The
    Australian executive planning to buy Saddleback Mountain Resort in Rangeley
    disputed news reports that he wanted the resort mainly for its immigrant visa
    program potential rather than reopening the ski operation.

    Sebastian
    Monsour, group CEO for the Majella Group of Brisbane, Australia, said extensive
    planning at great cost has gone into making Saddleback a year-round resort that
    “takes in all the benefits, offerings and services of the landscape.”

    He
    added that the EB-5 immigrant visa program is not the major funding mechanism
    for closing the purchase, as had been indicated in media reports Wednesday.

    Excerpts
    alleged to be from an audiotape of Monsour talking during a Sept.
    11, 2017, staff meeting were released Wednesday by Portland NBC affiliate WCSH.
    The tape was reportedly leaked by former Majella employees.

    On it, Monsour seems to be heard saying, “The EB-5
    program is the reason we are actually buying Saddleback. The mountain and opening
    the mountain is something we would like to achieve, but if we don’t, we are not
    going to lose any sleep with regards to it.”

    The
    EB-5 visa program allows foreigners who invest at least $500,000 into a U.S.
    business and create at least 10 local jobs to qualify for permanent U.S.
    residency.

    Sen.
    Tom Saviello, a Republican who represents the district that includes
    Saddleback, said the comments on the tape about the EB-5 visa didn’t make sense
    to him.

    “You
    need a viable running business on the ground, and there are job creation
    requirements,” Saviello said.

    Saviello
    said he’s heard from a person close to the resort operations that five to nine
    people are currently working at Saddleback to care for its structures and to
    plow, and they’re being paid by Majella under an operating agreement while the
    funds are raised to complete the purchase.

    Monsour
    said he is finalizing funding agreements that “do not include the EB-5 program
    to finalize the sale and to fund the reopening of the mountain.”

    “We
    were looking into the EB-5 program, but it is not a priority funding model for
    Majella and we are [finalizing] other funding models that make more sense for
    Majella to get this deal done and the mountain reopened,” he said. “It should
    also be clarified the any EB-5 program or approval requires job creation and
    that Saddleback would have to be operational and running for use in any EB-5
    program and not the other way around.”

    Commenting
    on the tape, on which he appeared to say Majella is cash poor and hadn’t paid
    certain contractors, he said Majella doesn’t comment on internal meetings or
    financial statements.

    “But to
    clarify, we are in a compensation dispute with one former employee and for
    legal reasons I would prefer not to comment further,” he wrote in the email to
    the Bangor Daily News.

    “Our
    priority is completing the deal to close the land, then to reopen Saddleback
    and the resort,” he wrote in an email. “We will be making announcements about
    this in the future, but rest assured we have been developing an extensive plan
    that is about a year-round resort.”

    He gave
    no timeframe for closing the purchase. He signed an asset purchase agreement
    for the property last June.

    The
    resort, which is Maine’s third largest, has been closed since July 2015, when
    the Berry family that owns it said they couldn’t afford to replace a chair
    lift.

    Monsour
    said his company is in the final stages of a process that will fund all its
    commitments now and into the future.

    “This
    is a complex deal and has posed numerous challenges to our investors. We are
    focused not just on closing but ensuring we have the long-term, sustainable
    plan in place for future of the mountain and the existing approved development
    district which includes opening the resort and keeping it open,” he said.

    He
    added that the Berry family has helped with the operating agreement that allows
    Majella to continue work to maintain and reopen Saddleback. He said when the
    deal is done, it will bring jobs back to Rangeley year-round, and not just
    seasonally.

    The
    private deal has been cloaked in silence. People involved Rangeley’s economic
    development seemed cautiously optimistic about Majella being able to complete the
    purchase, but did not want to be quoted.

    Meanwhile,
    the Saddleback Mountain Foundation, a nonprofit
    group that had bid to buy the mountain a couple years ago, continues to look
    for an opening to buy the resort, according to its spokeswoman, Crystal Canney.

    “We
    meet monthly should an opportunity arise for the mountain to become available
    for purchase,” she said, describing the foundation as a group of people
    passionate about the mountain. “We are in a good situation to take advantage of
    that.”

    http://bangordailynews.com/2018/03/15/business/prospective-saddleback-buyer-refutes-claim-that-he-just-wants-resort-for-immigrant-visas/

  • TomWhiteTomWhite expert
    Posts: 620
    Here's a link to a 3 1/2 min. video by the TV station that aired the Sept. recording of Monsour, Majella's CEO:

  • z1000307470z1000307470 advanced
    Posts: 152

    What a joke. Buy a business and then go look for the funds. The Berrys are getting fooled by this Australian carny barker. But this is nothing new for the Berrys. They have made a whole litany of bad decisions during their ownership of SB. The pattern continues.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220

    Typo.. * I have heard nothing of the sort.  I don't believe your sources are credible... Sounds like nothing more than negative speculation.  And those 2 lifts on the open market are not worth more than the ski area anyway...The ski area is likely worth $5 mil or so. 
    1.  Once again: Who are you that you might have heard something? Property Owner 
    2.  There are many more marketable things at Saddleback than just the lifts. - Like what?  A few snowmaking machines that have sat idle for 3 years? Most of the grooming fleet has been repo-d...see debt below 
    3.  Your valuation of $5M for Saddleback as a ski area is nominally correct.  What do you think the liquidation value is and for how much do you think the bank note with Skohegan is?  Yes it is...$3mil (ish) liquidation value with about $5mil of Debt 
    See above

    Bottom line is that the Assets are not worth more than the ski area which by the way we both agree isn't much, but is worth more than the assets...Certainly not enough spread there to justify a liquidation. 

    So again, who are your sources? I know all the players up there...
    Andy: Check your PMs.
  • TomWhiteTomWhite expert
    Posts: 620
    First half of NESI article:



    Problems Mount for Prospective Saddleback Buyer
    Majella is being sued by an investor for 'misleading and deceptive conduct.'
    Wednesday, March 21, 2018, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com

    The previously announced acquisition of Saddleback has yet to occur and the committed reopening of the ski area this winter did not happen. While powder piles up on decks of the closed Saddleback base lodge, prospective buyer Majella's problems appear to be growing.



    According to the Courier Mail, Majella and its CEO Sebastian Monsour are being sued by a Chinese investor for "misleading and deceptive conduct." According to the Courier Mail, President & CEO of TOMI International Fusheng Li is taking part in the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program, an Australian version of the EB-5 program. SIV participants are required to invest $5 million AUD in exchange for a visa.




    According to NBC Portland's Kristina Rex, Monsour was "touting various accomplishments in property development, including The Williston-West Church in Portland, Saddleback Mountain, a massive Portland waterfront project of 300 condos, retail space, and a veterans' hospital."




    The Williston-West Church is owned by Monsour's father, and is not affiliated with Sebastian Monsour or Majella, according to NBC Portland. The Saddleback transaction has yet to be closed, while the waterfront project was never seriously considered, as then-Portland Mayor Michael Brennan "expressed skepticism."




    According to NBC Portland, Majella did not pay Li the interest he was promised, and instead allocated the money to payroll, Australian property, and to its United States office. Li is suing for the return of his $5 million investment.




    Meanwhile, according to multiple sources, three of the four offices advertised on Majella's web site are not occupied by the company. Only the listed global headquarters appears to be affiliated with the company, which is a small building on a side street in Brisbane.
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,346
    I wonder if he knows Mr. Quiros

  • Posts: 2,392
    Now this is just getting weird.



    Prospective Saddleback Buyer Talked of Arranging Hostesses 'So We Don’t Have to Get the Bloody Brothel Licence'

    Majella is facing multiple lawsuits in Australia.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2018, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com

    Majella CEO Sebastian Monsour was planning to set up "private entertainment spaces" from Australia to the United States with special arrangements "so we don’t have to get the bloody brothel licence," the Courier Mail reports.

    According to the Courier Mail, Monosour told employees, "You never tell the wives this."

    The Courier Mail also reports that La Trobe Financial won a $659,184.84 default judgment against Majella in March and that an entity named Hays successfully sued over an outstanding $34,569.15 invoice in February. Queensland Business Monthly reports that multiple individuals have not been paid wages from Majella.

    In addition, the Courier Mail reports a foreign Majella investor is suing Monsour and Majella in Queensland Supreme Court for "misleading and deceptive conduct" and that Monsour is claiming “privilege against self-incrimination."

    Background
    The latest saga dates back to July 2015, when the Berry family, owners of Saddleback, announced the Rangeley double was "at end of its useful life" and that operations would cease if the lift could not be replaced. The lift was not replaced and the ski area sat idle for the following two winters.

    On June 28, 2017, the Berry family announced Saddleback was being sold to the Majella Group. At that time, Majella announced the sale would be completed later in the summer and that a new fixed grip quad chairlift and T-Bar would be installed in 2017. At the time, Majella did not commit to operating in 2017-18.

    On September 18, 2017, Majella declared "dominoes have fallen into place" and that "physical work is starting" and that "the first step will be taking down the existing Rangeley lift." As of mid December, the chairs remain on the Rangeley Double. However, chairs were removed from the other lifts and remain on the ground, now buried in snow. Saddleback's lifts have not passed state inspection since November 2014.

    Also on September 18, with regard to a 2017-18 reopening, Majella posted, "only thing that is going to hold up or delay this process is Mother Nature" and that Majella was "committed to opening in some capacity for the 2017-18 ski season, assuming Mother Nature does not deliver an early winter with heavy snow."

    On November 9, Majella announced delays in the sale, while also adding uncertainty to a 2017-18 reopening by stating it "will not be a full opening, rather a limited operation that, if possible, will allow our Saddlebackers and their families to return and enjoy the mountain in some capacity."

    On November 21, NBC Portland reported it had "learned exclusively that the money isn’t there," adding "if the group doesn't come up with the money soon, the deal could fall apart entirely."

    In March 2018, NBC Portland released leaked audio in which Monsour stated "I have a very very very small amount of funds" and that "opening the mountain at Saddleback for the Saddleback Resort is not a primary concern for us."

    Saddleback did not operate during the winter of 2017-18.

    http://www.newenglandskiindustry.com/viewstory.php?storyid=680
    - Sam
  • SullySully intermediate
    Posts: 63
    Can we call this whole thing dead in the water now? I mean it's been clear for six months. Really sad for the mountain and her fans.
  • slathamslatham advanced
    Posts: 197
    What is really sad is that with the Majella deal looking dubious from the beginning and dead for some time now, that no other buyer or even rumor of one has materialized.
  • bousquet19bousquet19 advanced
    Posts: 293
    slatham said:

    What is really sad is that with the Majella deal looking dubious from the beginning and dead for some time now, that no other buyer or even rumor of one has materialized.

    Is the newly formed Saddleback-related foundation still an option ?
  • sugarloafsugarloaf expert
    Posts: 988
    Is anyone interested in pictures from closing day?

    Ski Conditions Report: A detailed report describing the snow conditions on the mountain the day of your visit. Skiers should become familiar with the following snow surface descriptions: Ice: Packed Powder, Slush: Packed Powder, Frozen Granular: Packed Powder , Packed Powder - A thin covering of snow over bare earth.

  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220
    slatham said:

    What is really sad is that with the Majella deal looking dubious from the beginning and dead for some time now, that no other buyer or even rumor of one has materialized.

    The SMF has attempted (unsuccessfully) to negotiate a deal with the Berrys.  If the seller was at all like Betsy Pratt (owner of MRG before co-op), it would be a done-deal.

    The SMF, I am told, is ready to step in when the Majella deal fails.  That being said, the odds that SB will ever operate again as a commercial ski area are very slim (IMO).
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,346
    I've long known that people enjoy skiing, and people enjoy sex...but must admit, it never occurred to me to combine the two in rural Maine.   They just didn't teach this stuff in business class back in the day.  

  • powderstudpowderstud intermediate
    edited May 4 Posts: 56

    That being said, the odds that SB will ever operate again as a commercial ski area are very slim (IMO).
    Let's hope you're wrong, Joshua.  One thing to keep in mind is that the Berrys also own a condo or house or something like that at Saddleback.  If they sell off the ski area piece by piece, the value of their personal real estate investment greatly diminishes.  I'd like to think that when push comes to shove, they will be willing to accept less money and keep the area intact and viable, rather than liquidate it, sell off the pieces, and end up with a few more dollars in their pocket.  It will be interesting to see, for sure.  Hopefully they're not Republicans.  :)
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 2,334
    sugarloaf said:

    Is anyone interested in pictures from closing day?

    Oh yes
  • powderstudpowderstud intermediate
    edited May 4 Posts: 56
    Here's some interesting news from the Portland Press Herald (3/15/2018) that I don't believe we've seen before (but perhaps I just missed it):

    https://www.pressherald.com/2018/03/15/former-employee-files-suit-against-prospective-saddleback-resort-buyer/

    Former employee sues prospective buyer of Saddleback resort


    Perry Williams, a former consultant for Majella Group, says he is owed some $30,000 in back wages and fees.


    A former employee for the Australian development company that is
    planning to buy Saddleback Mountain resort in Rangeley has filed suit
    against the company alleging he was not paid for his services.

    News Center Maine (WCSH/WLBZ) reported on Thursday that Perry
    Williams of Rangeley sued the Majella Group for nearly $30,000 in unpaid
    wages. Williams was hired on Jan. 1, 2017, as a consultant for the
    Saddleback project.

    Williams alleges that as of Nov. 9, 2017, he is owed $21,250 in
    consultant fees and $8,461 in past due gross wages, according to court
    documents obtained by News Center Maine. As of Jan. 31, the date the
    suit was filed, Williams said he still had not been paid, News Center
    Maine reported.

    Williams’ attorney, Frank K. N. Chowdry of Portland, filed the
    complaint against Majella Developments Seven LLC and three other Majella
    companies in Cumberland County Superior Court.

    The sale of Saddleback is still pending. The resort has been closed since July 2015.

  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220
    That being said, the odds that SB will ever operate again as a commercial ski area are very slim (IMO).


    Let's hope you're wrong, Joshua.  One thing to keep in mind is that the Berrys also own a condo or house or something like that at Saddleback.  If they sell off the ski area piece by piece, the value of their personal real estate investment greatly diminishes. 
    I'd like to think that when push comes to shove, they will be willing to accept less money and keep the area intact and viable, rather than liquidate it, sell off the pieces, and end up with a few more dollars in their pocket.  It will be interesting to see, for sure.  Hopefully they're not Republicans.  :)
    I hope that I am wrong, too.  Concerning your statement beginning with, "I'd like to think that when push comes to shove...": there is no evidence that your statement that follows is true
  • marcskimarcski advanced
    edited May 4 Posts: 274

    That being said, the odds that SB will ever operate again as a commercial ski area are very slim (IMO).
    Let's hope you're wrong, Joshua.  One thing to keep in mind is that the Berrys also own a condo or house or something like that at Saddleback.  If they sell off the ski area piece by piece, the value of their personal real estate investment greatly diminishes.  I'd like to think that when push comes to shove, they will be willing to accept less money and keep the area intact and viable, rather than liquidate it, sell off the pieces, and end up with a few more dollars in their pocket.  It will be interesting to see, for sure.  Hopefully they're not Republicans.  :)


    The value of a condo is peanuts compared to what the Berry's invested in the mountain. I'm not sure that would have any influence on their decision.
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