KINGSTON – On Wednesday, March 24, Judge Mary Work rendered her judgment in the dispute between Joel Hoffman and Mitchell Wolff, former business partners who were fighting for control over Ellenville's Nevele Grande Resort. Work ruled that Wolff be awarded control over the resort, as well as the Center at Horseheads, an industrial park.
The decision seemingly puts an end to the ongoing question of whether and to whom Hoffman would sell the resort, which has been for sale since March 2008. New questions, however, have been raised, such as to whom Wolff plans on selling the resort, and what will happen to BG Quality Logging's efforts to conduct a selective timber harvest on the property, which has been under review by Wawarsing's planning board since last summer.
While the answers to these questions remain hidden for the time being, Lance Matteson of the Ulster County Development Corporation has given some signs that real talks of a sale could happen soon. When asked about the Xinjiang Daming Mining Company, Ltd., which is listed in court documents as a prospective buyer of the Nevele, Matteson declined to comment, but instead offered some very optimistic, if non-specific, visions of the future.
"There are three or four parties who have expressed interest in the Nevele," said Matteson when asked if he knew anything about potential buyers of the property. "And I think all of them are interesting and seem to have some track record in the industry. And so we are going to be very interested and eager to work with anybody who steps forward, and more than one, potentially."
When asked if there were any meetings scheduled, Matteson wouldn't offer any details, but he did say, "I think you can almost guarantee that we're going to have meetings in the coming weeks and months."
Many of the people and entities that are owed money will now be paid back by Wolff, which will likely happen as a result of a sale of the Nevele property.
"The liens are still against the property itself, so certainly Mr. Wolff has operational responsibility now to do whatever he can until those obligations are satisfied," said Matteson. "The big question now is will there be a financing or acquisition deal that can take care of all the liens and all the obligations that are out there. And that, we sure hope for, but it remains to be seen. No one will know until there is a final deal in place that is real."
As for what will happen regarding the contract between Hoffman and BG Quality Logging, and the lien the latter company's president, Bryon Gardner has against the property's timber, it's anyone's guess. Gardner himself said this week he hasn't been contacted by Hoffman or Wolff, but that he plans on coming to the next Wawarsing Planning Board meeting in April to continue the ongoing discussions of his application.
"I do think it was prudent for the town to postpone the request to selectively cut timber a few months ago until we know the outcome of the litigation in Kingston," said UCDC's Matteson on the subject of the timber harvest application. "Perhaps until we have a deal that will put in place a plan for the property, because you don't want to get quick cash for somebody and sacrifice the long-term master plan for the property."
Prior to this decision, the Hoffman-controlled resort had been for sale through Auction America Realty since the summer of 2009. On two separate occasions, Marvin Neuman, the company's president, had announced that there were contracts to purchase the Nevele — the first time, the buyer was unable to provide the cash to make the purchase because of Patriot Act laws slowing the movement of funds from foreign countries, Neuman said. The second time, Rafi Weiss of Tricon Development had been fingered as the next buyer, but Weiss eventually decided to pull out of the deal because of the legal fight for control of the resort between Hoffman and Wolff — a move that accurately predicted the property's changing of hands last week.
Calls placed to Wolff this week were unreturned as of press time.