Traverse City Record-Eagle

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March 9, 2014

Taxes paid, code violations still remain

TRAVERSE CITY — A downstate bank paid Sugar Loaf Resort’s outstanding taxes, but whomever owns the property needs to address a slew of building code violations before any major changes can occur at the long-shuttered Leelanau County winter retreat.

Leelanau County Treasurer’s Office officials said they recently received payments totaling about about $136,000 from Talmer Bank and Trust, of Troy, to pay all Sugar Loaf’s delinquent taxes.

The payments followed county officials’ tour of Sugar Loaf last month after neighbors expressed concerns about the property’s safety.

The inspection turned up multiple code violations. An inspection report dated March 3 and addressed to Kathleen Wickstrom and a Troy-based group called Rock Investment Advisors, LLC, orders the property’s owners to contact county building officials within 10 business days -- or else risk penalties ranging from fines to demolition.

Steven Haugen, a building official for the Leealanu County’s Construct Code Authority, said he spoke with Remo Polselli about the Sugar Loaf violations on March 6.

Polselli is a former Sugar Loaf owner and a principal of Rock Investment Advisors.

“They will be submitting to me a letter and a timeline of what they are going to do to try and correct some of the problems out there,” Haugen said.

Rock Investment Advisors now claims to own Sugar Loaf. County documents list Wickstrom, who has long denied ownership, as the owner of record.

Polselli, who has a felony conviction for failing to pay federal taxes, told Haugen that Rock Investment Adivsors will complete a change-of-ownership transaction with county officials this week, Haugen said.

“He seems to be legitimately wanting to be taking care of the problem,” Haugen said.

Polselli has business connections to Enliko “Liko” Sean Smith, a Lake Tahoe man with a felony conviction of his own and a record of dubious business dealings, including a failed attempt to acquire Sugar Loaf in 2010.

Smith’s name again surfaced in Surgar Loaf rumors late last year when he announced elaborate plans to redevelop the closed resort.

Haugen said Smith came up during his conversation about Sugar Loaf with Polselli.

“The only thing he said is they have a couple of people seeking to purchase it, and Liko is still in the mix,” Haugen said.

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