MANCELONA — An aging chairlift and coat of melting slush decorate the as soon as-shuttered Mount Mancelona — or “Mountain of Dreams,” as Sam Porter dubs his enterprise. But dreams face unsightly realities inside the -year effort. Porter didn’t maintain his declare on the mountain after neglected first and second loan bills drove it into foreclosure. His now-lease of Mount Mancelona ends April 1. He has till then to exercise arent alternative and purchase the hill outright for $375,000 from property holder Antler Bar Real Estate, LLC. Porter informed the Record-Eagle he’s “very near saving” the property, and provided a promise of “desirable information inside the next couple days.” “Our goal is to shut on the belongings — again — with the proper owner (who) cares approximately our assignment,” Porter wrote in an e-mail. Porter scooped up the 70-some acre ski hill in September 2017 for $450,000 with guarantees to rebuild ski regions and breathe lifestyles right into a former community hub.
He touted plans of cabins, yurts, an educational farm, and a bee sanctuary. Mancelona citizens welcomed the news, volunteering to get the vicinity humming and contributing to what they hoped would carry a far-wished inflow of visitor traffic. These days volunteerism is beginning to gradual, said Mancelona Township Supervisor Chuck Johnson, who helped clean brush on the assets within the summer but has considering gotten too busy to help. People haven’t visible matters take place as quick as turned into advised, he said. “I assume humans lost self-assurance in it,” stated Johnson, who brought he appreciates Porter’s ideas for the land. “It’s his dream, is what it’s far — and extra of a dream than a plan.” Porter’s Mountain of Dreams came with a pledge to save the hill from personal pastimes and form a nonprofit. Porter’s “nonprofit attention,” he wrote, is on at-danger adolescents, veterans and nature-based total education. But Internal Revenue Service information shows no 501(c)(3) filings, pending or established, under Porter’s name. LARA officials confirmed the identical, though Porter stated he has articles of incorporation and plans to file soon as “The Good Work Collective.” Porter invites skiers thru Facebook — as long as they could get themselves to the top — but dodges questions about lifts or set operations in remarks and the open snowboarding lists no hours, pricing or rental equipment information. Meanwhile, Porter welcomes donations via a PayPal link on the Mount Mancelona internet site. He crowdfunded some other $2,790 thru IndieGoGo — early investors have been offered “shred equity.” Pleas for help with payments, device, and other reasons aren’t unusual at the mountain’s social media, and neither are timeshare pitches and links to lease rooms inside the belongings’ dorm-like motel. His gives to “prevent on via” and ski conflict with kingdom law. Mount Mancelona holds no mounted or pending ski vicinity licensing, LARA officials instructed the Record-Eagle early remaining week. On Friday, LARA issued Mount Mancelona a give up and desist for the one’s unlicensed operations — a misdemeanor that includes fines. In the intervening time, Porter faces a lawsuit in 13th Circuit Court from a donor he lauded closing fall for saving his Mountain of Dreams. Shannon Walters, a Leelanau-based winemaker, filed suit ultimate month to recoup $35,000 he gave Porter through a promissory be aware and any other $15,000 he claims included Mount Mancelona’s various bills. Porter signed the one’s mortgage documents the usage of a Mountain of Dreams LLC that doesn’t exist beneath LARA listings. Walters and Attorney Nicole Graf declined to proportion specifics of the in shape and dealings with Porter. Porter wrote that he’s been trying to “workout an equitable and honest return for (Walters’) investment.” Past guarantees, too, hang-out Porter’s Mountain of Dreams. Porter owes about $320,000 — rising with each day interest — to philanthropist Casey Cowell, in step with a thirteenth Circuit Court fit filed only a day after Walters’. Real Estate, an LLC registered to Attorney Jeffrey Wonacott, filed the complaint. Cowell’s mortgage came in 2015, across the equal time Porter paid off several terrific payments to vendors, which include BATA. Cowell and his legal professional did now not go back calls about the loan’s situations. “(Casey) helped us at the time, saying we were too essential to Traverse City to not assist,” Porter wrote, citing some event screw ups as a motive force of those monetary struggles. Another case, in which American Express successfully sued Porter for nearly $five,000, wrapped final month. Court information display no payment. He’s also yet to pay former landlord Hilltop Properties of TC, which sued Porter in 2017 for unpaid office space hire, in step with courtroom records. Hilltop did no longer go back requires comment. Antler Bar took Porter to court for failing to pay the last budget left after an April 2018 mortgage sale, too — approximately $eleven,000 — which they still haven’t paid, in keeping with Antler Bar Attorney Jim Rose. Porter and his LLCs were garnished in numerous of the instances, and others yielded orders to seize property and judgment liens as months dragged and prevailing events waited unpaid. Porter’s unpaid debts — money had to hold Mount Mancelona covered — tally at the least $766,000. Several other individuals claiming to have sore dealings with Porter declined to speak at the record. Another $2,500 owed to BATA in 2014 brought attention to Porter’s music document, and numerous beyond partners and lenders got here ahead in 2015. He sooner or later paid up — some thing former BATA Director Tom Menzel shows changed into spurred by using unwelcome media attention. “He’d owed money to a whole lot of humans and left them striking,” Menzel stated. “In a small metropolis, those styles of matters spread virtually quickly. People get careful and don’t wanna paintings with you — or at least, they need their money up-the front.” Traverse City dropped a pending suit against Porter in 2017 after he paid brilliant bills stemming from the Winter Microbrew & Music Festival. Porter claims the mountain’s woes have deeper assets. Porter on Friday wrote he’s uncovered great embezzlement on the assets and is getting ready felony movement. He would not divulge the situations or any names regarding the allegation. “We had been waiting to share until after our superb paintings are on the right track,” he stated. Some have fonder recollections of Porter. His summer time and wintry weather beer fairs drew visitors to Traverse City for almost a decade earlier than transferring to Mount Mancelona. Both, for a time, proved sturdy successes. “Sam introduced together plenty of really superb brewers and network members to place on a brilliant event in Traverse City,” said Trevor Tkach, Traverse City Tourism president, and CEO. Lenders carry a distinct view. “Past performance is regularly the exceptional predictor of destiny performance,” Menzel said. Porter’s money owed and his LLCs carry five lively UCC liens — typically positioned using creditors to name “dibs” on an asset in the event of a financial disaster — in keeping with IRS facts. Court Officer Rick Robbins recently oversaw a seizure of a trailer to pay off one splendid Porter court debt. “Porter had moved a whole lot of his stuff,” Robbins stated. “(A flatbed) trailer was the most effective aspect I should find of Porter’s (someone) didn’t have a lien on.” Still, Johnson holds out desire that the effort could revitalize Mancelona — the 1,800-man or woman Antrim County village bears deep wounds after losing four hundred jobs and its largest employer, a car plant, within the past due 2000s. The longtime Mancelonian incorporates fond reminiscences of his childhood, when automobiles are carrying tourists with skis filed into the town, filling Mount Mancelona’s parking zone. “Before Schuss and Shanty went in, (Mount Mancelona is) all we had over right here for snowboarding,” Johnson stated. “I’m sure (Porter has a plan) — it looks like each time it works out for him. Some people suppose you could snap your fingers and the entirety’s executed — however that doesn’t show up — it takes time. “Maybe after they see some thing accomplished.” TIMELINE, 2017 to now Feb. 24, 2017 – Attorney Andrew Shotwell, who declined to speak of his function with Mount Mancelona, paperwork Ski Run Road, LLC. The enterprise, sharing a name with the road Mount Mancelona may be located on, is later indexed in a promissory note with a few Sam Porter LLCs for a mortgage to buy the ski region. Sept. 29, 2017 — The Porters, underneath LLCs owned by Sam Porter and previously registered to Shotwell, finance $375,000 from Antler Bar Real Estate, LLC, to buy Mount Mancelona. Oct. 20, 2017 —Hilltop Properties of TC, which leases office space to Porter and his Spectacular Structures, LLC off Rennie School Road, for nonpayment of the lease. Oct. 30, 2017 — Porter misses his first Mount Mancelona mortgage charge. His loan hobby price rises from five percentage to 10 percent. Nov. 17, 2017— A default judgment is entered in want of Hilltop Properties of TC in opposition to Porter for approximately $9, six hundred. Nov. 30, 2017 — Porter misses a 2nd Mount Mancelona loan charge. His loan enters default, the once a year hobby jumps to 25 percent, and Mount Mancelona enters foreclosures. Dec. Four, 2017 — An order of eviction is filed in opposition to Porter and an LLC via Hilltop. April 13, 2018 — The loan is going up for public sale at the Antrim County Courthouse and is purchased by way of Antler Bar Real Estate, LLC, for $360,000. This leaves the Porters with an about $13,000 deficit price. The couple paid $5,000 on the day of sale. June 20, 2018 — Antler Bar sues Porter, Abby and one among Porter’s LLCs for nonpayment of that remaining balance. Aug. 13, 2018 — A judge awards a default judgment to Antler Bar for $eleven,109.Eighty-five after the Porter fail to seem in court. Aug. Sixteen, 2018 — A judge awards a default judgment to Hilltop Properties of TC, a former landlord to Porter, for $nine,950.54 plus interest. Sept. 14, 2018 — A judge approves an order to seize property from Porter’s Spectacular Structures LLC after he fails to pay a court judgment to Hilltop Properties. Sept. 24, 2018 — A judgment lien is filed towards the Porter-related FunX5, LLC for failure to pay Antler Bar Real Estate within the previously filed lawsuit. The LLC lists no registered agent in LARA facts. Oct. Thirteen, 2018 — The deadline to redeem Porter’s mortgage of Mount Mancelona comes and passes unmet. Oct. 19, 2018 — Shannon Walters lends Samuel Porter about $35,000 — money Porter needed to lease the belongings, in keeping with Antler Bar Attorney Jim Rose. Walters, in following weeks, lent Porter every other nearly $15,000 to pay payments and prices. Porter conducts this loan via Mountain of Dreams, LLC — which doesn’t exist, in line with LARA. Jan. 31, 2019 — Porter’s promissory notice with Walters enters default. Feb. 7, 2019 — American Express National Bank is presented a default judgment towards Porter and his Tent Venue LLC for unpaid stability of almost $5,000. Feb. 14, 2019 — Walters sues Porter in 13th Circuit Court for about $50,000 plus prison charges. The healthy to start with consists of Abby Porter, however, in March, an amended grievance is filed to dispose of her from the healthy. Feb. 15, 2019 – Realo Estato, LLC sues Porter in thirteenth Circuit Court for $317,452.Ninety-four lent to Porter through Casey Cowell underneath an unmet 2015 promissory observe. April 1, 2019 — Porter’s hire of Mount Mancelona ends and his hire option to buy the property, if no longer exercised, expires.