In the wake of Florida-based Celebrity Resorts filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, David Walley's Hot Springs Resort and Spa's 6,600 time-share owners are wondering how the news will affect their investment.
"Right now, if you have reservations or exchanges, they'll be honored," said Gary Grottke, treasurer of the Walley's Property Owners Association. "If you haven't made reservations, Celebrity isn't taking reservations now, but owners can mail reservation requests directly to the association using our P.O. Box in Genoa."
Grottke said for more information, owners should visit www.dwrinfo.com.
In light of the bankruptcy, though, there still exists concerns how the Genoa resort's daily operations will change.
Grottke said the restaurant, DW's Dinner House, will close today, but that the time-share and spa portions of the resort will stay open.
On Thursday, Grottke and lawyer Joan Wright, representing the association board, were in Douglas County District Judge Michael Gibbon's courtroom for a hearing on a receivership order.
The plaintiffs had filed suit to move the association's assets from Celebrity Resorts to Quintus Resorts, the prior owner of Walley's. Grottke, president of Quintus, said his company still owns a little more than 500 time-share weeks.
Celebrity's bankruptcy, however, resulted in an automatic stay of the receivership order.
Wright said the association's suit doesn't aim to take property away from Celebrity, but only remove the association's own property from their management.
Gibbons ruled the bankruptcy stay in effect until otherwise lifted, but allowed an element of the lawsuit, which names two individuals, to proceed.
Grottke said the association is looking for a new management company for the time-shares, although they can't hire a new firm until the old contract is terminated and the action approved by the bankruptcy court.
"The overwhelming sentiment is that the owners have lost trust in Celebrity and feel that they need a new manager," Grottke said. "We got a problem, but we have a lot of committed people who are now working together. The owners will prevail."
Wright said Jared Meyers, Celebrity CEO, and Craig Lewis, both Celebrity-appointed members of the association board until voted off less than two weeks ago, have not filed for personal bankruptcy and therefore are not protected by the Chapter 11 filing.
"I expect they'll be served in the next 72 hours," Wright said.
"No one has said anything from the defense," Gibbons said, noting the empty defense table.
Looking out at more than a dozen time-share owners in the courtroom, Gibbons said, "You probably wish the trial was right now."
Grottke said the association board is suing Meyers and Lewis for "breach of fiduciary duties."
"We want to try to recover some of the missing funds," he said. "There's about $1.5 million in question."