More than 25 acres of a Stone County property that has been mired in controversy is scheduled to be auctioned by the sheriff on July 30th.
What started as a dream has turned into a nightmare for those associated with the Indian Ridge Resort near Branson West. The beautiful piece of property overlooking Table Rock Lake has hit many snags along the way. The great recession, investigations by the FDIC, fraud charges against the developer/s, bankruptcies and a violation of the state's Clean Water Act either halted development for a time, or completely brought the development to a stand still.
The $1.6 billion development was supposed to bring high end condominiums, shopping and a resort with the country's second-largest indoor water park to the area.
In January of this year, two firms involved in the development of Indian Ridge Resort Community – Indian Ridge Resort, Inc., represented in court by owner and president James "Jim" E. Shirato, Sr., and North Shore Investments, LLC, represented in court by owner Donald Snider, Jr. – pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England to the charge contained in a Sept. 1, 2010, superseding indictment. By pleading guilty, both companies admitted that they failed to prevent storm water runoff at the construction site from discharging silt into Table Rock Lake.
But taxpayers in Stone County will feel the hit as well. When the development first began, county commissioner's granted the developers a $2 Million completion or reclamation bond. What that means is that the county would recoup the bond money once the infrastructure was complete. "From my understanding only 80 to 90% of the infrastructure, like sewers and roads are complete," said presiding commissioner Dennis Wood, who inherited the project.
If the county were to try and collect the bond money they would have to complete the infrastructure or put the property back to the condition it was prior to development, according to Wood. "We're (current commissioners) not going to put the taxpayers of Stone County in a position where they will have to complete that project. Ain't gonna happen," said Wood.
The development of the property came to a standstill in 2009 when Shirato’s bank, Columbian Bank in Kansas, was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
That same year, several vendors filed a mechanics lien against the current owners of the Indian Ridge Resort near Branson West. The current owners of the property include more than 30 people who purchased property from the developers, according to online court records.
Stone County Judge Mark Stephens entered a judgment on June 4, 2012, in which the mechanics liens or material men liens was sustained on “all or parts of parcel 34, Indian Ridge Resort Community” in the amount of $531,203.97, plus pre-judgment interest and costs. All defendant’s motions for new trials were denied, according to court records.
The opening bid for the entire "absolute auction" of 25.7 acres, which includes existing structures is set at $550,000. The description of the property indicates the land is plotted as 80 lots, with 13 structures in various stages of completion, according to auctioneer Larry Foster. His website also notes that the court will issue writs of assistance as may be necessary to inure the buyer obtains a marketable title to the real estate, free and clear of all encumbrances except for any easements or restrictions of record. A shipping container, 148 pieces of scaffolding and a rock screen will be sold separately.
All property will be sold “as is,” according to Foster’s website. Tri-Lakes Title & Escrow will conduct the closing within 30 days of the property’s sale.
The sale is scheduled for 1 p.m.
*****We learned on July 17th that Shirato's property, with the exception of Parcel 34, was sold at an auction at the Stone County courthouse on July 13th for $3.1 Million. The FDIC is reported to have bought the property with an absentee bid, according to a source who attended the auction.