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 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 through Facebook — as long as they could get themselves to the top — but dodges questions about lifts or set operations in remarks. 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, devices, and other reasons aren’t unusual at the mountain’s social media. Neither are timeshare pitches and links to lease rooms inside the belongings’ dorm-like motel.
He 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. Porter faces a lawsuit in 13th Circuit Court from a donor he lauded closing fall for saving his Mountain of Dreams in the intervening time. Shannon Walters, a Leelanau-based winemaker, filed suit the 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 using 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 “work out an equitable and honest return for (Walters’) investment.” Past guarantees, too, hang out with 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 not to assist,” Porter wrote, citing some event screw-ups as a motive force of those monetary struggles.