An Idaho judge on Friday declared the French developer of a failed central Idaho ski resort in contempt of court for missing yet another hearing in the resort's ongoing foreclosure case.
French native Jean-Pierre Boespflug was ordered to appear in state court after missing a hearing last month and a court-imposed deadline for turning over financial documents.
The hearing started about 20 minutes late, giving him extra time to appear, but Boespflug was nowhere to be found. Fourth District Judge Michael McLaughlin sent his bailiff to call out Boespflug's name in the hallway _ remarking "You have to be thorough" _ before finding that he was "willfully, annoyingly and deliberately in contempt."
Besides ordering Boespflug's arrest, McLaughlin started the clock on fines of $5,000 a day that will continue until he shows up in court and turns over the documents.
Boespflug's whereabouts were unknown, and he did not have an attorney representing him in court. He did not return phone messages left at his last known cell phone number by The Associated Press.
He is the majority owner of Tamarack Resort, a ski and golf resort about 90 miles north of Boise. Boespflug estimates he personally lost as much as $45 million in his Tamarack investment after the real estate market plunged in 2008, slowing sales of condos and homes at the resort.
The downturn, coupled with a cash shortage from he and his partners, left Boespflug and other investors unable to repay a $250 million construction loan from a syndicate led by Credit Suisse Group. In a separate case, Boespflug has also been ordered to pay $4.9 million to Bank of America's leasing arm for lifts installed at the resort that he personally guaranteed.
The resort is now in foreclosure proceedings in state court after bouncing in and out of bankruptcy in federal court.
Bank of America asked for the contempt finding after Boespflug missed a court hearing last month and failed to show up for a debtor's exam the same day. After the missed court date, Boespflug told The Associated Press he "needed time to clear his head" but refused to disclose his location.
He vowed to return to Boise and deal with the possible sale or foreclosure of the resort.
If he's out of state, the warrant may not have any teeth. It will go to the Valley County Sheriff's Office, which will have the discretion to decide if it will be entered in just a statewide database or a national one. If Boespflug is pulled over for speeding or another infraction or otherwise runs into law enforcement officers who have reason to run his name through that database, he can be held on $3.5 million bail.
Bank of America's leasing arm also has the option of hiring someone to track Boespflug down _ for instance, they may try to find out if he's still in the country. If they locate him, depending on the laws of the locality they may be able to ask local agencies to pick him up on the warrant and send him back to Idaho, at Bank of America's cost.
U.S. Marshal Dan Stanford said his agency wouldn't get involved in the case unless the Valley County Sheriff's office or another agency asked them.
Brad Goergen, the Seattle lawyer representing Bank of America Leasing and Capital LLC, said after the contempt hearing that his clients didn't have any comment because of the ongoing litigation. Last month, he said his clients suspected Boespflug was shielding his assets and planned to skip town rather than pay the $4.9 million judgment.
Boespflug sold his Boise home for $1.2 million, Goergen noted, and transferred assets to a Nevada company he created. Goergen also said the deed of the home was notarized by someone from the Cook Islands, a collection of islands in the South Pacific that Goergen said was well-known as a haven for fraudulent asset-protection trusts.