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Crystal Bay Club poised to reopen

by Merry Thomas, Appeal News Service

The Crystal Bay Club should reopen sometime this week.

The club’s opening day was supposed to be July 1 then July 28, but is now “sometime the first week of August.”

It’s not surprising that the precise date of the Crystal Bay Club opening has been less than a sure thing. The casino filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2002. The subsequent bankruptcy hearings and motions to stop Chapter 11 turned its potential sale into a lengthy tug of war.

The court, presided over by Judge Bert Goldwater, repeatedly rejected lead shareholder Josh Ketcham’s attempts to reorganize the defunct casino. Ketcham led a small-but-determined group that opposed liquidation.

By June 2002, Incline Village businessman Tom Gonzales offered the first legitimate bid on the casino, starting the process with $3 million. His plan was to develop the site into a bottled water company and shopping mall.

But in July 2002, the judge accepted the highest bid, $4.35 million, declaring the Bristol Group of New York the Crystal Bay Club’s new owners.

Other serious bidders included businessman Mike Akatiff of San Jose and developer Tom LeClair of Arizona.

In August 2002, trustee Jeri Coppa-Knudson revoked the sale because the new owners couldn’t come up with the money. Plus, the firm’s co-owners were sought for fraud in New York.

By last November, W.C.W. Corp., headed by David Scott Tate, owner of the Silver Springs Nugget, expressed interest in the Crystal Bay Club. This sent the casino back to bankruptcy court for further bidding.

It went to auction after another unsuccessful attempt by Ketcham and his group to reorganize the casino’s funds. Their plan was filed Nov. 13, a week before the final sale.

When bidders gathered Nov. 21 at the federal court in Reno, Miracle Investments, LLC, owned by Roger and Elise Norman, made the winning bid, $2.9 million, for the Crystal Bay Club.

The sale was final Dec. 31, and Miracle Investments completed the required gaming permits in June.