UPDATE 4/10: A reader sent a collection of annotated links that offers some interesting reading.
UPDATE 4/8: TV 7&4 has a report that includes an interview with Liko Smith that addresses tax issues. Definitely worth watching!
Yesterday the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported that Liko Smith, a Las Vegas-based entrepreneur is working to purchase Sugar Loaf Resort in Leelanau County:
The Las Vegas-based entrepreneur has big plans for Leelanau County’s long-shuttered Sugar Loaf Resort, and he wants it open in a hurry. If all goes according to plans, he’ll plunk down millions and have 100 rooms open at the resort’s hotel by July 4.
“The key to this is speed and pragmatism,” he said Friday.
The once-popular resort that covers several hundred acres in Cleveland and Centerville townships closed in 2000 amid a sea of financial troubles and back-to-back poor snow seasons. Multiple attempts to reopen never materialized.
Smith, 39, said he’d spend about $10 million to purchase the entire resort, an attached golf course and a supporting water treatment plant, parcels now owned by separate parties. He’s been in contact with owners and hopes to finalize the purchase soon.
“All the contracts are being drafted; we expect to close by the end of the month,” he said.
Then yesterday, in response to a slew of internet postings, the Record-Eagle followed up with news that he faces felony grand theft and embezzlement charges in California’s El Dorado County, and is the subject of numerous derisive Internet postings about past business endeavors.
On Monday, Smith said “everybody makes mistakes,” and said he remains committed to the Sugar Loaf purchase.
“If the citizens of Leelanau County and Traverse City want that place open; I’m the guy to do it,” he said.
I did a lot of reading on Smith, both through articles about his endeavors linked from the Sugar Loaf Facebook group and other places as well as what he has to say on his web site. Sugar Loaf does need someone to come in and hit it very hard and very fast with a lot of money, something that Smith appears to bring to the table. Not having met or spoken with him, I find it hard to gauge whether or not he’s a person who can be trusted to get the job done. Here’s hoping…
The photos for this article were provided by Glen Arbor photographer Jeff Rabidoux. See these and a lot more beautiful landscape photos at lifeonthe45th.com.