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Lake Lawn Resort sale details moving slowly

April 20, 2011 | 09:12 AM
Delavan — The purchase of Lake Lawn Resort by a local group of investors led by Jim Drescher still is not a done deal, yet.

But, Drescher said Tuesday morning, parties are working hard to iron out all the details that go along with the $9.5 million cash purchase of the 241-acre resort.

"You close on a house in a month and we will just be at four weeks now," Drescher said of the process to buy the resort. "There's a lot of stuff to do and everyone is working hard."

Drescher called the process "frustrating" because he would have liked the deal to have been completed a few weeks ago so work could have already started to prepare the resort for the spring and summer season. He said there are 27 different permits that must be approved and numerous people who need to provide their approvals on other items.

"I feel good about everything," he said. "It just takes time. Hopefully we will have an answer soon."

Dale Thorpe, attorney for the Lake Lawn condo association, said real estate sales must be in writing. He said every day there is not a contract, the property could be sold to someone else.

On March 25, as many as 13 banks who are stakeholders in the foreclosed property, agreed in principal to sell Lake Lawn Resort to Drescher and his investors for $9.5 million. The agreement came on the heels of weeks of work by Drescher negotiating with bank officials, specifically Patrick Wright of Anchor Bank. For nearly a week prior to the accepted offer, communication between Wright and Drescher had broken down and Drescher admitted to the Delavan City Council on March 24, that his offer the next day would be his last.

Once the principal deal was complete, Delavan City Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis and City Administrator Joe Salitros met with Drescher, Wright and Thorpe to make the official announcement at City Hall. The closing of the all cash transaction was expected to take place in the next 30 days.

The day after an agreement was made in principle, Drescher said he was pleased to get the deal done so the resort can be reopened and people can come back to work. The resort closed at the end of last year and about 300 people lost their jobs.

Throughout the process of the purchase, Drescher has said helping the community and the resort get back on its feet by employing people was his main goal. He said this hasn't been about the money, it's about the jobs and the communities. He has said his group of investors has raised about $12 million.

Drescher, who owns J.D. Development and runs the W.C. Food Pantry, will remain involved in the opening and running of the facility. Lake Geneva's Sal Dimiceli, of Lake Geneva Area Realty, has been involved in the purchase effort by Drescher, and has helped with that process, but he is not an investor as previously stated in earlier reports. Dimiceli also runs the charitable organization, the Time Is Now To Help, which is involved with the W.C. Food Pantry.

Drescher has said he eventually would like to see parts of the resort become charitable trusts, which would give back to the area communities.

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