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Lien Holder Buys Ascutney Resort

Brownsville — The future of the Ascutney Mountain Resort — embroiled in legal and financial issues for several years — is still unclear but this week’s auction of the resort appears to have finally settled the question of ownership.

MFW Associates LLC, the first lien holder on the property, was the only bidder at Monday’s auction of the resort’s assets, including the lifts and snowmaking equipment. MFW’s Dan Purjes, an investment banker, bid $1.5 million and in less than 10 minutes, the auction was over.

What happens next is anyone’s guess but the sale, which must be verified by the court in the next 30 days, appears to settle the legal wrangling between MFW and Snowdance LLC, owned by the resort’s former owners, Steve and Susan Plausteiner.

“It (the auction) essentially cleanses the title to the property,” West Windsor’s Selectboard Chairman Glenn Seward said Thursday.

With a clear title, Seward said he hopes the resort’s future will be brighter. The resort closed in the summer of 2010 because of bankruptcy. The high-speed chair lift late sold and removed.

“I expect those conversations to start shortly,” Seward said about what happens next. He said Purjes has not signaled his plans for the resort.

Though the ski area is closed, the hotel and restaurant continue to operate under the ownership of Orange Lake

The auction went forward when a Windsor County Superior Court judge ruled that MFW’s interest in the property was ahead of Snowdance.

MFW had purchased a promissory note several years ago owned by Snowdance and then started to foreclose on the property over nonpayment of debt.

In a related issue, the town is still waiting for court approval for the purchase of the sewer system at the resort, Seward said. “The town is ready to close on the sale as soon as the courts approves it.”

The town has a pending purchase and sale agreement on the system which includes the sewer collection system, as well as the 4-mile force main to the Windsor line.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.