A new majority owner and a deal with the township of Vernon could right the resort’s financial woes.
Mountain Creek could be out of bankruptcy protection early next year if two agreements — including an shift in ownership structure — are approved in the coming weeks.
SNOW Operating would acquire controlling ownership of the ski resort and water park from current majority owners Mountain Creek Resort, Inc. and the Koffman family. And, $28 million in sewer debt that has plagued the business would be worked out with Vernon Township, according to the parties.
The terms of the agreements remain confidential until they are reviewed by the court. First, the Vernon Township Council must approve the sewer component. Both are expected to happen by the end of the year.
The resort should be out of bankruptcy within 60 to 180 days, said Joe Hession, founder of SNOW Operating.
“We’re very motivated to get this done,” Hession, 38, a Vernon native who now lives in Mountain Lakes, said during a phone interview Thursday.
Mountain Creek Management, LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2017, citing debt that it inherited from previous owners.
The biggest chunk of that debt — $28 million — is owed to Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority for sewer system capacity of 166,000 gallons per day that was set aside for Mountain Creek under a previous owner, Intrawest, who planned to build 1,200 more condominiums.
The $40 million tab for the additional sewer capacity was covered with municipal bonds and the resort was made responsible for $28 million of it. That development never materialized and the resort’s share of the sewer bill was never paid. It has financially plagued the struggling proprietor since.
But, Hession said, the sewer is an asset that allows the resort to expand in the future. “I see the sewer as a positive thing,” he said. “We need to figure out a way to get the town paid and allow us to keep the capacity.”
Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway says he has been stedfast that taxpayers should not shoulder that financial burden.
“I think this will outline a solution to go forward where Vernon will be made whole and Mountain Creek will be able to develop,” Shortway said of the proposed agreement between the resort and the township.
Mountain Creek is the township’s largest taxpayer — with an annual tax bill of about $850,000 — and the …read more
Source:: New Jersey Real-Time News