Owner of Tahoe’s famed Cal Neva Lodge files for bankruptcy
CRYSTAL BAY — The owner of the shuttered Cal Neva Lodge & Casino once owned by Frank Sinatra has filed for bankruptcy protection, again jeopardizing plans to reopen the historic resort on the shores of north Lake Tahoe.
Criswell-Radovan, a California-based developer, purchased the property in 2013 with ambitious renovation plans.
But work on the project came to a halt in December, and the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza reported Tuesday (http://tinyurl.com/jjp5fhf) that Criswell-Radovan filed last month for the protection from creditors so it can reorganize.
David Poitras, a Los Angeles-based lawyer representing the company, is scheduled to appear in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Rosa, California for a status hearing on Aug. 2. He declined comment on Tuesday.
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency officials hope the developer follows through with plans to reopen the 10-story hotel and 6,000-square-foot casino straddling the California-Nevada border.
“We think it’s a good project,” TRPA spokesman Tom Lotshaw told the Bonanza.
Criswell-Radovan has canceled numerous announced grand openings for the property over the last several years, most recently this spring.
During its 1960-63 heyday when it was owned by Sinatra, the Cal Neva became one of the most famous resorts in the country.
Frequent visitors included fellow Rat Packers Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford, and stars like Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio.
Monroe spent her last weekend alive at the Cal Neva before she died of a drug overdose in Los Angeles in August 1962.
Criswell-Radovan owed more than $27 million last month to creditors affiliated with the project, including $7 million to the lead contractor, the Las Vegas-based Penta Building Group, the Bonanza reported.
Kristina Hill, who helped Criswell-Radovan acquire construction permits, said news of the bankruptcy filing was disappointing.
“Everybody was keen on having it renovated to bring it back to its former glory and bring it up to code,” she said. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”
Lotshaw said the bankruptcy filing guarantees that that the Cal Neva won’t reopen this year but that Criswell-Radovan has a permit allowing construction until Oct. 15, 2018.