Phoenix Club Gauges Interest In New Destination Club

Date: September 15, 2009

Last month, the former members of the now bankrupt High Country Club received a letter from Thomas Quinn, a lawyer representing several High Country Club members and creditors. The brief two page letter introduced a new reorganization plan for High Country Club in the form of the Phoenix Club. The new destination club would use the former properties of High Country Club, but wouldn't charge members a membership deposit or annual dues. Instead, members would make four weeks of annual travel reservations at the club's properties and only pay for the weeks they used.

Today, High Country Club members received a follow up letter from Quinn, providing additional information about the club and its progress.

One of the primary disclosures released is that Quinn, while representing multiple members from High Country Club, is largely anchored to Rick Callahan. In addition to being a member, Callahan made a $500,000 cash purchase in the High Country Club Management company in January of 2008. He also provided the club a $1 million line of credit and he and other members own the properties in Maui, Steamboat Springs, and Lake Tahoe. According to today's letter from Quinn, Callahan "probably will be the person who stands to lose the most if the HCC bankruptcy results in liquidation."

Hoping to avoid this possible outcome, Callahan and a group of still as yet unidentified others formulated the Phoenix Club. The new club would take the High Country Club properties still wrapped up in the club's bankruptcy and again provide them to members. Needing approximately 200 of the former club's 375 members to make four weeks of reservations annually, members would pay a predetermined rental rate based on the properties and time period they selected without having any annual dues payment or any up front membership fee to join.

"Rick Callahan is willing to continue to participate in a reorganization plan in the hope and expectation that some time in the future the new Phoenix Club can operate at a profit," the letter states. "Rick is not willing to invest any more money but some other members have committed to investing up to $250,000 if there is a reorganization plan approved by the Court."

According to the document, much of these funds will be used to pay for accrued expenses for HOA fees, cleaning, and utilities to bring the club's properties, not maintained since December of 2008, up to members' expectations.

"At the present time there is no fixed plan for the operation of the Club," the letter continues. "We know that if at least 200 people (existing members or new members from the general public) use the properties for four weeks per year we can operate and pay the mortgages and expenses. If we have more members and a higher occupancy rate then the Club can operate at a profit and expand the number of properties and locations available to the members."

Other information regarding the club and its structure revealed in today's letter include:

  • Members will decide upon the actual reservation system once a critical mass is reached.
  • Any number of weeks of reservations will be accepted, but four weeks will likely be required to maintain membership status.
  • All reservations will be from Saturday to Saturday.
  • Weekends will be available on a space available basis at "very good rates."
  • Additional services will be on an actual cost basis.
  • Plans are to allow members the ability to reserve properties up to two years in advance, but the final reservation system will likely be determined by a membership committee.
  • Pricing and/or a lottery system may be used for peak period holiday access.

Needing 200 members, the Phoenix Club currently has reservations from 24 former members and "20 or so" interested in the offering. Only 6 High Country Club members have declined the option, leaving well over 300 members unaccounted for. The Phoenix Club is currently asking these members to submit a non-binding reservation form, either to make tentative reservations, express an interest to learn more, or indicate their desire not to move forward. As stated in the letter's first paragraph, "Please keep in mind that we are not asking you for any money or any type of legally binding commitment at this time."

If you are a former High Country Club member or a non-member looking to express an interest in the Phoenix Club, please contact us at contribute@destinationclubnews.com and we will be happy to provide you the reservation form so you can let the Phoenix Club know your intention and put you in touch with the club if you would like to move forward.