Sep. 24, 2008
Investors are anxious as Seibt files for bankruptcy
By MARK WAITE
Developer Hans Seibt sank $11 milion into the 17-acre Seibt Desert Retreat RV Park, according to a Feb. 18, 2004, Pahrump Valley Times article, creating 232 luxury RV slips that came with a bowling alley, spa, exercise room, restaurant and lounge, and even a swimming pool fed by a cascading waterfall.
Seibt spruced up what was the Calvada Sports Complex at the north end of Leslie Street and Highway 160 until Preferred Equities Corp. went into bankruptcy in 2003.
It was the centerpiece of Seibt's financial empire that included seven companies. Lots were originally priced at $55,995 for a standard RV lot to $115,995 for a corner lot. Corinthian columns and exquisite landscaping completed the scene.
Today, the RV park is in the hands of the first trust deed holder, Dunham and Associates of San Diego. Second trust deed holders are hiring an attorney after Seibt sent them a letter Aug. 30 announcing he plans to seek Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Seibt said the dramatic downturn in the housing market caused severe liquidity problems in the credit and mortgage markets.
But a second letter from Seibt to clients noted, "Amidst all these [sic] gloomy news, there appears to be a pleasant development. The first mortgage holder, a mortgage company, has expressed interest in taking over the RV resort."
Charlie Cochran said he was sent to manage Seibt's Desert Retreat RV Park by Dunham and Associates. He urged the second trust deed holders to organize, select a spokesman and meet with Dunham and Associates.
Cochran emphasized the RV resort will remain open and be actively soliciting customers. The busy winter season is fast approaching and numerous motor coaches are heading south on Highway 160.
"For a first trust deed holder it's a beautiful asset. The point is, it's a well-maintained and valuable collateral for a trustee," Cochran said. "I'm keeping all the employees and they're all focused on making the park as beautiful and as open for business as possible."
Cochran said Seibt left the property to Jeffrey Dunham, the company owner, as of Sept. 1, adding the two men had a friendly relationship. The bankruptcy court will eventually appoint a receiver during the foreclosure proceedings, he said.
"I think it will be me but the court hasn't quite determined yet. We're going to continue to run it," Cochran said. "I'm a businessman. My experience is to take things that aren't doing well and bring them up and make them profitable."
Floyd Thomas, who specializes in the RV industry, has been hired to market the property, he said. The RV park has been affiliated with the national KOA chain for the past year.
It's unknown what the second trust deed holders will recover during the bankruptcy. But Cochran said, "If we can get this resort up and running, make it profitable, get the coaches in here, everybody wins in the long run no matter what happens."
The RV resort would decrease in value if it were shut down, Cochran said.
The second trust deed holders could purchase the park from Dunham and Associates, he said.
Otherwise Cochran said, "The best win-win for everyone is for the investors in the park to get together to form a group and to work with Dunham to see what could be worked out so everyone wins."
Investor Dave Schaaf said a crowd of hundreds of other investors in Seibt's numerous properties could be meeting soon with an attorney to plan strategy.
Schaaf said he was the first manager of the RV resort and transferred his funds, his retirement money, into several trust deeds that could be renewed annually.
"When I left him in 2005 I decided at that time I was not going to renew those trust deeds, and as they came due I told him I wanted to be paid back. They matured at different times," Schaaf said.
"He was going to pay me $50,000 a month and in December he was going to make a balloon payment for the final amount. This was in '06. It didn't happen so I called him again in '07 and he told me about some deal with some Chinese investors," Schaaf said. "The Chinese investors never materialized and I'm still sitting here with him owing me $380,000."
Schaaf said four classes of creditors are involved: people who didn't sign mature trust deeds, a second group with active trust deeds, a third group that invested in the RV resort and a fourth group with promissory notes.
Nye County Assessor's Office records show 13 people actually own title to trailer lots in the RV park measuring 0.04 to 0.05 of an acre they bought at prices ranging from $75,000 to $118,000.
Bob Nalett said he had over $300,000 in a trust deed with HSLV Development Corp., one of Seibt's companies. Nalett said Seibt called him Aug. 20 asking for a $35,000 loan, offering to pay it back with 17 percent interest.
"Even when I went over to give him $35,000, you'd think nothing was going on," Nalett said. "We never had a check bounce and never had a check come here that never was supposed to. Every month was just like it was supposed to, like clockwork. Our checks were always here on clockwork."
Nalett then received the notice of bankruptcy. He recalled the scene when he went to Seibt's offices on West Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas.
"There were people crying, there were about 15 people there. One woman there was with her mother. She had lost all of her money," Nalett said.
A recorded message at Seibt's office stated the mailbox was full and couldn't accept messages.
Investor Robyn Gladd said she has a notice at the offices of Cow County Title for anyone interested in joining their group. Gladd said she invested $120,000 in trust deeds.
"It's heartbreaking. That was our dream money," Gladd said. "It came from the sale of our home in Vegas."
"When you invest in trust deeds you're supposed to be backed up by land," she said. "I have been talking to people who have been getting checks from Hans for 10, 15 years without a glitch."
Cochran said he's talked to some angry investors since arriving on the property a little over a week ago. One of them, a contractor, was angry as hell, he recalled.
"I'm a former Marine, I've been shot at," Cochran said. But he added, "Hans just walked out and we're one of them. Dunham and Associates is one of them."
When the courts allow, the resort will be renamed, he said.
For now, campers, unaware of the legal problems underlying the property, can rent a space for $50 per night and use all the amenities, including the waterfall-fed pool with a view of the Spring Mountains.