Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sun Valley Co. sued over golf course

Complaint says Elkhorn should be members-only club

Express Staff Writer

A class-action suit has been filed against Sun Valley Co. over its decision last year to open its recently acquired Elkhorn golf course to lodging guests. The course had been part of a private club.

Two Ketchum couples, Harold and Penelope Coe and Alan and Wendy Pesky, filed the suit in 5th District Court on May 31 on behalf of everyone who bought Elkhorn Golf Club memberships in 2003-04, when the course was bought by CG-Elkhorn Golf, and remained members until about 2011. The complaint states that that class includes at least 100 people.

The complaint contends that CG-Elkhorn recruited potential members with a promise that it would maintain the course as a members-only club, and that if the club were ever sold, the buyer would take title subject to a "membership plan." According to the complaint, CG-Elkhorn used the slogan "Privacy. Privilege. Perfection."

The complaint states that the club began construction of condominiums and a clubhouse, as promised, but couldn't sell all the condos and lacked the funds needed to maintain the golf course. Sun Valley Co. bought the course in July 2011.

In an interview, plaintiffs' attorney Ed Lawson said CG-Elkhorn's contract with the members was legally passed on to Sun Valley Co. when it acquired title to the property.

According to the complaint, Sun Valley Co. told club members during a meeting on July 18, 2011, that it would open the course to guests at the Sun Valley Lodge. A Sun Valley representative informed them that only 6,400 rounds were played on the Elkhorn course annually, while about 20,000 were played on the Sun Valley course.

The complaint states that Sun Valley Co. informed plaintiffs in a letter dated Jan. 3, 2012, that it had changed its position and would operate the Elkhorn course as a semi-private club. By then, the plaintiffs had joined the Valley Club, the complaint states.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

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