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A highly touted mixed-use development slated for the historic Story Mill site in Bozeman appears to be dead - the latest victim of the rolling financial fiasco that has engulfed the Yellowstone Club and its owner, Edra Blixseth. The Story Mill project, which would have been among the first large urban infill projects in the region and promised to set new standards for sustainable development, was led by Matthew Crocker, the son of Edra Blixseth. Crocker and Blixseth signed personal guarantees for a $13 million loan from a Colorado real estate finance company in the summer of 2007, the proceeds of which went to Blue Sky Development, Go Build and several related entities. Story Mill was the primary project being undertaken by those companies, and the Colorado firm, Western Capital Partners, sued Blixseth and Crocker for repayment last month, alleging that no payments had been made on the loan since July. Multiple sources associated with Story Mill confirmed that activity had been at a standstill for some time, and that Go Build laid off all its employees and closed its Bozeman office in December. Story Mill is one of a number of entities that are reeling in the wake of the Yellowstone Club bankruptcy.

Bozeman’s Story Mill Falls Victim to Yellowstone Club Debacle

A highly touted mixed-use development slated for the historic Story Mill site in Bozeman appears to be dead – the latest victim of the rolling financial fiasco that has engulfed the Yellowstone Club and its owner, Edra Blixseth.

The Story Mill project, which would have been among the first large urban infill projects in the region and promised to set new standards for sustainable development, was led by Matthew Crocker, the son of Edra Blixseth. Crocker and Blixseth signed personal guarantees for a $13 million loan from a Colorado real estate finance company in the summer of 2007, the proceeds of which went to Blue Sky Development, Go Build and several related entities. Story Mill was the primary project being undertaken by those companies, and the Colorado firm, Western Capital Partners, sued Blixseth and Crocker for repayment last month, alleging that no payments had been made on the loan since July.

Multiple sources associated with Story Mill confirmed that activity had been at a standstill for some time, and that Go Build laid off all its employees and closed its Bozeman office in December. Go Build and Blue Sky Development owe money to a number of Bozeman companies, and at least two – Hyalite Engineers and Kath Williams, a green building consultant – have filed liens against the Story Mill developers. American Bank, a lender to the project, declined to comment.

Story Mill is one of a number of entities that are reeling in the wake of the Yellowstone Club bankruptcy. Edra Blixseth, who took control of the club following her bitter divorce with Tim Blixseth, apparently has no cash to support a far-flung array of business ventures and expensive personal properties. Employees and vendors at her massive Palm Springs estate apparently weren’t paid for many weeks and were dismissed around Christmas.

Meanwhile, employees of a Blixseth-owned technology company called Blxware, which is mired in a convoluted legal battle of its own, also say they have not been paid. Edra Blixseth in November agreed to a settlement of litigation relating to the Blxware technology, which can supposedly be used to track terrorists by scanning video. Together with the company and with the inventor of the Blxware technology, Blixseth agreed to pay $20 million to eTreppid Technologies, a company owned by veteran businessman Warren Trepp, as well $5 million to Trepp and $1.5 million to an entity called Friendly Capital Partners, according to court documents. The payment to Friendly was due in early December, and Blixseth and her partners were also required to pledge $40 million in collateral against the settlement by mid-December. It’s not clear if either of those actions have taken place. Attorneys for Blxware and Trepp could not be reached Monday.

The Yellowstone Club is now operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with a $20 million loan provided by CrossHarbor Capital Partners. CrossHarbor also holds a $35 million mortgage on the Palm Springs property – money which Edra used to buy Tim out of the Yellowstone Club as part of the divorce – and that loan is also in default. Edra also pledged to put up an enormous estate in France, the Chateau de Farcheville, as collateral in the bankruptcy proceedings. A $60 million sale of that property fell through in August, apparently helping to precipitate the cash squeeze.

The Story Mill development, which is less than two miles from downtown Bozeman and received approval form the Bozeman city council in December of 2007, was slated to have 1,200 homes and 140,000 square feet of commercial space. The developers promised to make it a pilot project for sustainable neighborhood design, and it was lauded as an example of how Western towns could grow without sprawling.

But even without Edra Blixseth’s financial troubles, it’s not clear that the project would have been viable in the current economic climate.

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29 comments

  1. The snakes are starting to eat their own tails and up to the back of their necks. One more bite (swallow) they will be gone.

  2. Capitalism is an economic system but it takes more than an economic system for a society, country or community to do well and prosper over the long haul. It also takes a political system and an ethics or values system. For example Vietnam and China have an increasingly capitalist economy with an autocratic political system. Cuba seems to have a socialist economic system and an autocratic political system. And the U.S. has been attempting to punish Cuba for not doing what the U.S. tells it to do for almost fifty years to no avail. In the mean time, The U.S. has been practicing out of control casino capitalism based on greed and wretched excess while the political system has been corrupted by the influence of monopolistic financial plutocrats with the morals of street pimps who are whining that they are too big to fail. The YC fiasco is a microcosm of the U.S. financial fiasco fueled by excessive greed, excessive credit, excessive conspicuous and status driven consumtion, excessive risk, excessive complexity of financial instruments etc. It matters not if they are good guys, bad guys or nutty guys. Its a fine mess that they have gotten themselves and the rest of the country into. And its a shame that seemingly decent projects like Story Mill are flushed down the toilet in the process.

  3. As old as I am, I can’t remember how bad it was during the early years of the Great Depression. That may be the trouble. Nobody seems to realize how bad thing can be…

  4. If one does some research you might find that monies taken from YC were involved with GoBuild. Also, a jet that lists ownership at the same address as Monarch Design, and Go Build off of Huffine will tell the true story! The LLC listed was somewhere in AZ and believe Edra may have gave it to her son or at the very least provided it for his use. Now, how can this be I ask? Why do the courts allow this type of behavior? Edra got paid 9 million to decorate the lodge but was fired shortly after getting paid! This was a scheme to take monies from the YC. GoBuild got paid for work at the lodge also. I ask how much work got really done and how much were they paid. It is very obvious that anyone family member of the Blixseth’s are very slippery! One exception is maybe Beau who seemed to be a stand up guy. But, when you have a father like Tim it is hard to say that the personality would not rub off. Beau, if you are reading you should take note and do not follow the same path as your father because karma will get you in the end. If you had asked I could have told you so, but you did not!

  5. what is this jet story. this is not a fact.

  6. Actually, Blockhead, it was fact. I am sure things got changed before the bankruptcy and maybe moved to a Delaware LLC? It is fact that N864YC is owned by Western Aviation out of Portland (probably Tim’s) and N864YD is owned out of Delaware, but previous records listed ownership with 6730 Tawny Brown Ln which is both Monarch Design(owned by Edra) and GoBuild’s(M Crocker) address. All the above was fact, but may have been changed because of pending bankruptcy! This information is public if you know where to look! Sounds like my comments upset you and they should, and what happened when she got her new Gulfstream?

  7. what?…sputter…did i read that piece of understated drivel right???…”it’s not clear that the project would have been viable in the current economic climate.” did you actually write that jonathon….good god man…try substituting unmitigated disaster for “climate” and you might approach some semblance of reality.

    “look around you….we’re at the threshold of hell.” – from christmas vacation.

  8. Capitalism is fine until the darn thing iterates far enough and everybody is paying with borrowed money.

    The consumers, the corporations, even the banks – who sell YOUR long-standing credit card debt to other financial companies as a way of getting rid of it.

    Of course, it doesn’t help if a snake-oil salesman absconds with your savings.

  9. Oh yeah – hah! Tim’s kid went to (tried to???) go to college. Tim never once offered to donate any money to the school the way all the Ivy League big money players almost feel compelled to.

  10. Too bad all the people were kicked out (with some compensation) of the trailor park. More affordable housing in Bozeman down the drain…

  11. Sbait/

    Ok I follow, did my research. 864yd was sold but same company you state. Was a G2 and the G4 it shows she or Tim is leasing and another G4P is owned. Assume the no-lease is Tim Jet which is the YC number as the G4 is EJ76? Must be nice flying alone

  12. The reason Tim bought a jet was because long ago, when his Oregon and Washington timber scam was going well, scheduled airlines would not let him fly first class with his two dogs in his lap. So, he bought a jet to take him to Hawaii and back when he was into doing Hawaii. Or so the newspapers of that era reported.

    And his path since them is littered stiffed contractors and little people. A guy like Tim might piss off someone without a sense of Yuma, and boy, oh howdy, would that be interesting. Maybe that was the reason for the gated roads and armed guards—-to keep some disgruntled guy with a name ending in a vowel from paying him a visit.

  13. I signed a petition against the Story Mill development, and I’ve no doubt that petition got a lot of signatures. I wonder how far that thing got before some bureaucrat had him/herself a good chuckle and tossed it away.

    I would have loathed to see my favorite UNDEVELOPED recreation spot turned into another $ sinkhole for rich yuppies with so much money they buy gold-dusted toilet paper to wipe their a*$es. The only thing marring the Northeast side (in 2006 dubbed “the ghetto?!?!”) of Bozeman is that new “village downtown Bozeman” townhouse development. The rest of Northeast Bozeman is beautiful, historical and REAL.

    The economy hasn’t affected me at all because I know how to live frugally and never placed much importance on accumulating wealth and material things. I prefer investing my time in a love of people, nature and knowledge. It must really suck to love money so much it ruins your life.

  14. And now erstwhile, parking lot ski bum icon Warren Miller is shilling for YC, attempting to bring some credibility to sleazy excess.

  15. Warren baby is a movie-maker, right?

    Let’s see…I think he’s thinking in terms of a “sequel”?

    How ’bout:

    “YC2 – The Sequel: Collapse into the Caldera”

  16. Development seems to always be a bad word. Yet, Story Mill was a really cool project. The concept was good and the intention was well meaning. People who don’t like change- or refuse to change are always going to find a wrong with what’s going on around them. While the going was good, YC was a major motivator for work in Gallatin Valley. Not everyone was happy (no one ever is, there’s always complainers and those jealous of other’s successes) but jobs were readily available, blah, blah, blah. So when things go bad it’s easy to blame others. The writing was on the wall, how was Tim ever going to not screw with Edra? Look at his previous business dealings. All that while the economy was falling further and further into recesssion. Certainly excessive thinking got all of us into this mess. Even if you have stashed cash and are frugal this hurts you because you have friends with friends that didn’t save etc. There were jobs and now there are not. Friends of friends, people in our community forced to use services they once (hopefully) donated to. Shame on all of you for blaming the ultra rich. Sure they had a big part, but all of us played a part. You all want justice? Man, move forward and stop feeling sorry for youself. This is the land of the free, if you want to change the world, look inside your heart first, then make those changes bit by bit. There are some very caring yuppies, while some are just jack#$@%. I for one, still have hope to extend my philanthropy to many great causes, while striving to own a great house with accomodations to ski on private powder, hey I like to ski… Sharkbait, sounds like you have personal vendetta with the Blixseth’s, YC, GoBuild, Monarch? Your “investigations” get you where? I’m sure there is deep regret, and thank your stars you don’t have the tremendous finanical burden they have. Think about riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten. blah, blah, blah.

  17. No the intentions were not well-meaning.

    They tried having NE Bozeman declared a “blight” area so that they could pick up the properties for cheap.

    If Edra’s son was involved, the investors’ money would have gone to pay for his mother’s next (overdue) facelift.

    It’s good this thing crashed and burned.

    There is good change and there is bad change, and this was most definitely the latter.

  18. Again, someone brings in their personal ideas into this. It was a good idea and for you to say that this crashed and burned was good, is simply fiscally irresponisble.

    Yeah there is good change and bad change, but who moved your cheese?

    Always looking for someone to blame with a little (or a lot) of defamtion.

    How are you for the better by saying these awful things about people you don’t even know….or at least care about?

    This was a really great project and had it been anyone else, most would be sticking up for it.

  19. annedy- aristocrats and the wealthy always have their courtiers and their knaves. which are you? paid to tote their baggage as a courtier; or just glad to lick their boot soles as a knave?

    in either case these scum don’t give a rat’s ass about you or anyone else. they are greedy parasites who deserve their fate. if you are a courtier, better find a new meal ticket. if you are a knave, then worship them in silence. in either case, i find your slavish obeisance toward these theives somewhat tiresome and your shameful grovelling is embarrassing to watch…

  20. “problembear” –I KNOW I’m neither and maybe we both better stop shamefully grovelling about people we don’t know. And secondly–DID YOU MISS THE FRIGGIN POINT ???? ARRGH…..I just just think Story Mill was a really cool project. You’re embarassed for me, I’m embarassed for you. I expected more from you.

  21. I agree with Annedy because if you have population increase without a corresponding increase in development, eventually you will become a third world country. But I also agree with problembear that many of the blue bloods and the wealthy can be arrogant creeps. I think Miller’s old lady cut me off of Warren’s YC propaganda blog because I didn’t buy into his propaganda.

  22. “How are you for the better by saying these awful things about people you don’t even know….or at least care about?”

    I/We know enough about them: they’re crooks.

    There wouldn’t be a horrendous lawsuit – nor would the service firms who have done business with YC be hurting right for lack of payment.

    You obviously are RELATED to those CROOKS – otherwise you wouldn’t defend them so piteously.

    Wake up: they are scam artists. If you in any way benefit from their Ponzi scheme, you are one too.

  23. I thought a blog was to be used to discuss facts, not to tear apart people. You should all be ashamed of yourselves for slandering these people! Who really cares who gets a face lift or not? It’s really none of anyone’s business, and if you think it is then you have way to much time on your hands. I would suggest you help with a non profit organization, but not with all the hatred in your heart.
    I have taken a huge financial loss because of the problems at the Yellowstone Club, but I’m not sitting here crying about it. It’s part of doing business, we pick ourselves back up and move forward and hope for the best. If anyone involved has done any wrong doing in this situation it rests on their shoulders, not ours.

  24. Slander? Who’s slandering these people? The facts are out: they’re being sued for missing money.

    As for Edra’s facelifts, what a waste of money. She’s not even getting her money’s worth from the looks of them. Talk about a real waste of stolen funds!

  25. Annedy,

    Really cool project? More like unrealistic given the serious infrastructure problems the city is facing. Water mains the break, roads, sewer, and on and on. I see new trucks, cruisers, cameras at stop lights, and how about the dozens of people it takes to put those ugly holiday spiders up! Talk about being stung! Oh, I forgot the frat house money pit!
    My problem with Edra, Tim, or Mathew is that they have all shown their willingness to defraud anyone that they have done business with and get away with it, so far! This is just another example of our society’s disturbing lack of moral and ethics. Go into Monarch and look at the garbage at ridiculous prices. There is nothing in the store that is worth the price! I understand making a profit but give me a break!
    What I have done is to bring to light facts regarding the above people and their activities. These people should and need to be prosecuted for their personal behavior regarding their financial activities. Why do you think our financial situation here in the US is so bad? Maybe it is the same attitude that the Blixseth’s have. TAKE, TAKE, and TAKE without consequences. Who pays? People like you and me so wake up!
    By the way I do not grovel, but only want to shed light on the criminal activities related to the above story. Annedy, I have met Mathew numerous times and know Tim and Edra both,as well as, know what they are capable of! Do you?!

  26. WHERE OH WHERE DID THE MONEY GO. COURT IS TODAY SO I GIVE SOME HELP:

    342000000 YELLOWSTONE MONTAIN CLUB LLC FROM CSFB

    A 37000000 TO BLIXSETH GROUP
    B 165000000 TO TIM BLIXSETH
    C 1900000 TO MONARCH DESIGN
    D 140000000 TO YELLOWSTON DEVELOPMENT

    NOW IT GET TRICKY:

    A SEND 37000000 TO FIRST BANK WHICH IS A TIM ACCOUNT

    B SENDS 8000000 TO WESTERN PACIFIC 15000000 TO JACKSON STREET BANK 500000 TO UNION BANK 100000000 TO US BANK 6000000 TO AMERICAN BANK MONTANA 36000000 TO PALM DESERT NATIONAL BANK ALL ACCOUNTS ARE TIMS PERSONAL ACCCOUNTS AND LOAN ACCOUNTS

    C KEEPS THE MONEY

    D SENDS 100000000 TO US BANK 39000000 TO AMERICAN BANK MONTANA

    30000000 FOR TURKS AND CAICOS FROM MEMBER IN THE CLUB
    26000000 FOR FARCHEVILLE CASTLE
    30000000 FOR TAMARINDO
    9000000 FOR ST ANDREWS
    3000000 FOR WYOMING
    10000000 FOR YACHT 1 SOLD FOR 9000000
    3500000 FOR YACHT 2 SOLD FOR 2500000
    45000000 FOR G550 SOLD FOR 55000000
    60000000 FOR PORCUPINE CREEK
    18000000 INTEREST PAYMENTS FOR THE CLUB
    32000000 PAY OFF OLD CLUB LOANS
    28000000 CLUB RUNNING COSTS 2006/2007 INCLUDES JETS

    THE REST WAS ALL FOR TIM AND ALL PROCEEDS FOR SALES WENT TO TIM

  27. YC and Story Mill are NOT the kind of development SW Montana needs or wants. Only one kind of person benefits from such development… the wealthy. It’s development of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy.

    Since the 90’s, this area has witnessed an incredible influx of wealthy out-of-state individuals who experience greed and excess as a way of life. They flocked here en masse and drove up housing prices and the cost of living for those long-established here.

    As much as it may make sense to the wealthy, trickle-down economics doesn’t pan out in practice. For example:

    1) We provide jobs!

    Yes, these developments provide blue-collar jobs for a period of time, but those people still make blue-collar wages while a few people stand to increase their bulging bank account by millions. If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows, right? “The rich get richer” is a common saying for a reason.

    2) Those with money will donate the excess $$ to charity, spreading the wealth and giving money (back) to the people.

    This is basically giving a small sub-population of people some fish because they can’t fish themselves. A vast majority of the population won’t benefit from charity; only those who are in crisis and have no way out will feel relief via charity . Any self-respecting capable individual will do what they can to make their own living. Philanthropy helps the destitute and I guess if that helps you sleep at night, good for you. Most people work for their money.

    Annedy, I am not at all jealous of the “success” people who aspire to wealth achieve. I don’t want my own private ski-hill or a multi-million dollar house. I just would like to be able to afford a modest house in Bozeman some day, like my great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents managed to do. That is nearly impossible with high rent, high cost of living, and low wages. I am a 4th generation, college educated Bozeman native working in my field and waiting tables on the weekend and I still can’t save up to buy a house in my hometown! I don’t consider this “keeping me down” but when I read the above article it makes me consider how many more people from the area will be displaced to make room for Blixseth-like developments. The city commission needs to wake up… I’m appalled that they approved the plan for Story Mill.

    We need affordable housing.

  28. that is one hell of a good comment there obzerver. the only thing i would add is that trickle down economics is usually acidic to the locals – the uric kind.

  29. Gee – I thought Matt would at least have learned good swindling skills because of his proximity to one of the sleaziest swindlers of the 21st century.

    Oh well – now Matt’s a wanted man and all his construction/development projects are gonna tank.

    GOOD! These people are finally being recognized by all for being the crooks that they are – and that their projects are scam operations regardless of how much their PR firm promotes them as beneficial to the community.

    Well Annedy – let’s see you pose this in a positive light.

    Really, the only real question now is which is dropping faster: the values of Blixeth-associated properties – or the surgically-enhanced crow’s feet and other lines in Edra’s face.