Hidden Valley Tax Woes
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jb714
July 27, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
There was a thread a few weeks back regarding the possible sale of HV due to tax problems. There is an article in today's Trubune-Democrat (Johnstown) detailing the tax problems.

http://www.tribune-democrat.com/articles/2005/07/27/news/news04.txt
shearer519
July 27, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
149 posts
Copy of the article

Quote:



Resort fails to pay hotel taxes
Posted-Tuesday, July 26, 2005 11:47 PM EDT
By KIRK SWAUGER
TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT SOMERSET BUREAU

BAKERSVILLE - Somerset County officials are taking legal action against Hidden Valley after the resort failed to pay hotel taxes for nearly three years.

County Solicitor Dan Rullo said Hidden Valley owes the county $53,200, along with $12,300 in penalties and attorney's fees, for a total of $65,500.

"These are funds that are entrusted to them," Rullo said Tuesday at the county commissioners' meeting. "They receive this tax from customers and hold these funds as a fiduciary for us."

The county has retained Beer Ream & Co., 250 E. Union St. in Somerset, to conduct an independent audit of the resort's records since the hotel tax was enacted in September 2002.

Officials are threatening to file a municipal lien against the resort if the taxes are not paid, and is not ruling out criminal charges if it is proven the taxes were fraudulently withheld.

Hidden Valley is owned by the Kettler family in the Washington area, resort spokesman Keith James said.

James said he is unaware of the delinquent hotel taxes.

Hidden Valley executives did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

"If there's anything legal that could be pending, I know there wouldn't be any comment," James said.

Hidden Valley paid its portion of the hotel tax for the most recent quarterly reporting period, after failing to turn over the money since the beginning of 2003, county financial analyst Randy Welker said.

"It's a concern somebody would collect this tax, not remit it and spend it on something else," Commissioner Brad Cober said.

With its cluster of hotels near the Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange and two major ski resorts, the county collects about $650,000 a year from the 3 percent tax.

The money is used to promote tourism in the Laurel Highlands and provide grants for tourist-related initiatives.

All of the other dozens of hotels and bed and breakfasts in the county apparently have turned in the tax, officials said.

"We're going back and taking a close look to make sure it's being done," Cober said. "We're going to be doing more monitoring."

Though Hidden Valley never has received a county tourism grant, independent Nordic Ski Patrol did get money this year to groom cross-country trails at the resort and surrounding state forests and parks, officials said.

Cober said the problem was exposed during an ongoing annual county audit. He added that Hidden Valley forwarded its hotel-tax reports only after being contacted by county officials, but did not turn over the money it owes.

The hotel-tax ordinance contains provisions that could include potential criminal charges for "willful failure to comply," Rullo said.

Hidden Valley does not have a hotel like neighboring Seven Springs Mountain Resort, but does brisk business with townhouse and condo rentals, especially during ski season.

Hidden Valley was founded by George and Helen Parke in 1949, when the Pittsburgh couple purchased a 112-acre farm to start a country inn. In 1957, a few ski slopes were added, homes were built, and the resort began to grow.

One of the resort's regular guests, Washington developer Clarence Kettler, forged a relationship with the Parkes and bought Hidden Valley in 1983.

Since buying the resort, the Kettlers have focused mostly on constructing exclusive new homes above the resort, rather than on the ski operations.

Though Hidden Valley officials deny the resort is for sale, Cober is aware of the speculation. "I've heard those same rumors," he said. "I've heard it's for sale, but I don't know if it is or it isn't."




jimmy
July 27, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Thanks for the reprint shearer, i hate having to register just to read a news story.
snowcone
July 27, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
I'm wondering if there might be more than tax troubles for Hidden Valley. I am assuming the Hidden Valley discussed in this thread is the PA one. Lost lawsuits have a tendency to stifle cash flow.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=28292
jb714
July 27, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
Sorry.....my bad......I'd honestly forgotten that they required registration.
jimmy
July 27, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
not to worry, i just wonder why they make you jump thru hoops to read the news?
JohnL
July 27, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

I'm wondering if there might be more than tax troubles for Hidden Valley. I am assuming the Hidden Valley discussed in this thread is the PA one. Lost lawsuits have a tendency to stifle cash flow.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=28292




I believe the Epic thread is about Hidden Valley in New Jersey (formerly Vernon ...?) since the original poster mentioned this was a New Jersey case.

Hidden Valley New Jersey Link
snowcone
July 27, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
I suspected that might be the case but I have never heard of another Hidden Valley in the MidA. You learn something new every day! Further down the thread there is a link to Hidden Valley PA which is what made me think the topic concerned a Pa resort rather than a NJ one.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 31, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Bids were due for Hidden Valley today. Any tidbits from the rumor mill?
jb714
September 16, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
This from today's Tribune-Democrat:

Published: September 15, 2005 11:53 pm

$1 million tax debt threatens resort

By KIRK SWAUGER kswauger@tribdem.com
The Tribune-Democrat

BAKERSVILLE -
Financially troubled Hidden Valley Resort is listed for tax sale Monday now that its out-of-state ownership failed to pay more than $1 million in taxes for the past three years.

But with ongoing negotiations for the resort to be sold, it is unlikely the tax sale will proceed.

Hidden Valley owes $1.14 million in taxes for the past three years, Tax Claim Director Kathryn Rose said. That includes $740,570 in back taxes for 2002 and 2003 that must be paid to avoid the sale.

Its owners, the Kettler family of Washington, said last month they want to sell the ski area, golf course and other property.

"It is my understanding there is an agreement in principle to settle this situation to everyone's satisfaction," resort spokesman Keith James said of the pending tax sale.

James said five serious buyers have emerged, and two others have expressed interest. The bidding deadline is Sept. 30.

The Kettlers are willing to sell the entire resort or break it into pieces: The ski area, golf course, residential development, conference center and water and sewage plant.

"They're actually marketing it. I've seen ads in USAToday and The Wall Street Journal," Somerset County Commissioner Chairman Jimmy Marker said. "If and when the property sells, the taxes will be paid - to the county, to (Jefferson Township), to the school district."

That's in addition to taxes that would be tied to the sale itself.

In early August, Hidden Valley turned over three years of delinquent hotel taxes to the county. The resort remitted a check for $65,611, including about $53,200 for the tax itself and the remainder in penalties.

Founded by George and Helen Parke in 1949, Hidden Valley was purchased by regular resort guest Clarence Kettler in 1983.

Marker said it would be better for Hidden Valley to be sold in its entirety, rather than having its 90 parcels separated at tax sale.

"If that happens, it's probably best for everybody," he said.

"I'm always concerned whenever any business has financial difficulty," Marker added. "I would do anything I personally could to assist."

Rose said Hidden Valley is the most prominent property on the tax-sale list. The remaining 325 properties that had not been paid as of Thursday are mostly plots of land, homes and mineral rights.
SpringsRegular
September 16, 2005
Member since 10/14/2004
153 posts
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
September 16, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I wonder who the 5 interested parties are? $1.4 million is alot of taxes. I would caution anyone about buying a season lift pass.
jb714
September 16, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
The last couple of times that I've been driving back from the cottage I've heard radio ads for HV season passes - can't recall the exact prices, but they were less than 7 Springs by a fairly significant amount.

Given HV's market position in the area, I'd be hard-pressed to think that a buyer could reasonably expect to recoup the $1.4M in a decent period of time.
hockeydave
September 16, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
My guess is that the buyer would not be responsible for the $1.4 million... that would come directly from the sale (i.e. Kettler Bros. pockets).
jb714
September 20, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
HV paid part of their back taxes just in time yesterday:

Quote:

Published: September 19, 2005 11:35 pm

Hidden Valley pays back taxes just in time

By KIRK SWAUGER
kswauger@tribdem.com

SOMERSET -
Hidden Valley barely beat a deadline to pay its delinquent property taxes before the Somerset County resort was to be auctioned at tax sale on Monday.

Just an hour before the tax sale, the financially troubled resort paid $500,000 in cash and signed an agreement that it will turn over almost $205,000 more by year end or when it is sold.

"That's the only way we'd take it off" the tax-sale list, Tax Claim Solicitor Nathan Rascona said.

Hidden Valley owed $704,570 in back taxes for 2002 and 2003, and $1.14 million overall for the past three years, records reveal.

Its owners, the Kettler family of Washington, said last month they want to sell the ski area, golf course and other property.

"The agreement for the resolution of the tax problems was in place last week," resort spokes-man Keith James said.

"We continue to move full-speed ahead at Hidden Valley on all levels. The golf course is open and functioning, (as is) the restaurant (and) lodging. And we're planning for the ski season ahead," he said.

A resort spokesman has said five serious buyers have emerged, and two others have expressed interest. The bidding deadline is Sept. 30.

If the resort hadn't paid its past-due taxes by 11 a.m. Monday, about 90 of its properties, including the ski area, golf course and sewage plant, would have been sold to the highest bidder.

That likely would have created a feeding frenzy in the courtroom where the tax sale took place: An unfinished house at Indian Lake skyrocketed to $75,000, though no bids were taken for dozens of pieces of land or trailers.

The delinquent taxes are the latest in ongoing financial problems for the second-largest ski resort in southwestern Pennsylvania.

In early August, Hidden Valley turned over three years of hotel back taxes after the county threatened legal action. At that time, the resort paid $65,611, including about $53,200 for the tax and the remainder in penalties.

Founded by George and Helen Parke in 1949, the resort was purchased in 1983 by regular guest Clarence Kettler.

In all, 25 of 106 properties were sold at the tax sale, officials said.




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