The world’s only private ski-and-golf community has sought bankruptcy protection. The Yellowstone Club, an exclusive 13,400-acre retreat in Montana’s Gallatin Mountains whose members include Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former vice president Dan Quayle, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal bankruptcy court yesterday.
It wasn’t too long ago that the Yellowstone Club was making headlines of a different sort. Just last year it announced the construction of the world’s most expensive residence, a $155-million monstrosity whose 53,000-square-foot mansion sat on 160 acres and featured a private ski lift. Its extravagance, A-list clientele, and gorgeous setting made the club a media darling. Its website features links to articles in the Robb Report, Conde Nast Traveller, and The New York Times Magazine.
But a string of bad news has plagued the club’s founders, Tim and Edra Blixseth, who rank No. 33 on The Land Report 100 with estimated landholdings of 213,895 acres, including 180,000 acres of former Boise Cascade timberland in Idaho.
In August the club paid $39.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a group of members, including Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, who alleged that the Blixseths had tried to buy out their stake in the club for less than its true value. The Blixseths themselves have recently divorced. And, on Monday, the club announced that it had been unable to secure financing arrangements with its creditors and bondholders. It plans to reorganize its finances and emerge from bankruptcy “as soon as possible,” the statement said.
According to the Associated Press, the move comes two months after the club announced an ambitious expansion plan in conjunction with Arizona-based Discovery Land Co.