Firm aiming to buy Idaho resort changes web marketing materials after questions about accuracyBy John Miller, AP
Monday, August 16, 2010
Firm aiming for ID resort may have exaggerated
BOISE, Idaho — A Salt Lake City company that has offered to buy Idaho’s Tamarack Resort changed its website Monday after being questioned about the accuracy of its information.
The Associated Press scrutinized a passage on the Pelorus Group’s website that told potential clients it has been providing services for a dozen years. Utah secretary of state records indicate Pelorus was founded April 23, 2009 — just after its owner, James T. Bramlette, was discharged from bankruptcy.
The website originally included this statement: “Since 1998, The Pelorus Group has provided clients with quality loan and consulting services across every aspect of their real estate transactions.”
After calls and e-mails from the AP, somebody at the company changed the website about noon Monday to read, “Since 1998, the management team of the Pelorus Group has provided clients with quality loan and consulting services across every aspect of their real estate transactions.”
The marketing materials on the website could have led clients to believe the company has been operating longer than it really has.
Bramlette, now 32, didn’t return phone calls or e-mails Monday.
Bramlette didn’t live in Utah a dozen years ago. The son of a southwestern Montana real estate salesman had only recently graduated from Beaverhead County High School in Dillon, Mont.
There, he operated a small Montana business called Big Sky Mortgage & Loans before selling the business and moving to Salt Lake City around 2002, according to a 2008 deposition taken by lawyers for a company suing Bramlette over an unpaid $500,000 loan.
Once in Utah’s capital, Bramlette founded about 20 companies, gave real estate seminars and marketed resort properties for developers — including to plaintiffs now suing in federal court over a project in eastern Idaho where they claim they were misled.
A trial in U.S. District Court is scheduled for October.
Bramlette has said he did nothing inappropriate and that he suffered financially in that project amid the real estate crash. He sought bankruptcy protection in 2008, abandoning his interest in a $5.3 million private jet and a $450,000 Mercedes McLaren sports car he’d acquired with borrowed money.
As Bramlette makes his own business comeback, he told the AP last week he’s hoping he and other investors can revive Tamarack’s fortunes, too; the ski and golf resort on the Lake Cascade reservoir 90 miles north of Boise shuttered its lifts in March 2009.
It’s in federal bankruptcy court over about $300 million in unpaid debts to a syndicate of lenders led by Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group. Bramlette hasn’t disclosed the amount of his offer.
Doug Dvorak, a resort homeowner and Tamarack Municipal Association board member, has said Bramlette’s bankruptcy is disconcerting but he’s still hopeful the offer is from a well-funded investor group capable of resuscitating Tamarack’s operations.
Jean-Pierre Boespflug, the resort’s majority owner, declined to comment Monday.