Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

October 6, 2013

Editorial: Smith no more credible 2nd time around

Heeee’s back. And he’s as modest, transparent and credible as ever.

If Leelanau County, Cleveland Township and Leelanau brownfield officials have the sense they were born with, they’ll keep Eneliko “Liko” Smith at arm’s length - or maybe borrow a 10-foot pole.

Smith, of Las Vegas, first blew into town in the spring of 2010 with a grandiose, multi-million dollar plan to rebuild, refurbish and reopen Sugar Loaf resort, which has been moldering for the past 13 years.

At the time, he got a relatively warm reception from Kate Wickstrom, who ostensibly owns the property. At first, Wickstrom publicly supported Smith and his plan. But their relationship eventually disintegrated into name-calling and public attacks. By June, she had banned Smith and his associates from the property. Smith backed out of the deal for good that August.

But not before he pitched his ideas to just about anyone who would listen. He was flashy, flamboyant and filled — in the opinion of some observers, at least — with hot air. At one point Smith hosted a dinner at the Red Ginger restaurant in downtown Traverse City to gather “feedback” from the public and contractors who might want to get in on the action. He charged those interested $100 a plate to attend.

Smith had a past that sent up plenty of red flags. He had pleaded guilty in California in April 2010 to felony grand theft charges tied to his failure to pay about $92,000 in taxes on a California hotel he once owned.

It appears his flair for the dramatic hasn’t diminished. A web site about Smith — theworldsmostextremeCEO. com — states he has acquired Sugar Loaf with plans “to open what will be the grandest vision of a snow resort in the history of The United States.”

Wow. With that kind of billing what can possibly go wrong?

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