Ian Pike 4 p.m., March 9
Two Borrego Clubs Close Amid Bond Default
The Borrego Ranch Resort & Spa and the clubhouse at the adjoining Montesoro Golf & Social Club in Borrego Springs have closed down as of today (Jan. 8), confirmed spokesperson Sasha Itzikman. As reported on these blogs earlier, the two operations warned they would close November 30 if they couldn't find an investor. That date was extended to Dec. 15 and then to Jan. 8 when the axe fell. The Borrego Ranch is the former Casa del Zorro that for decades was owned by Copley Press. Montesoro is the former Rams Hill, which has already been through two bankruptcies. Both entities had warned the states that there would be layoffs -- 64 at the ranch and 31 at Montesoro.
Montesoro includes a number of homes whose residents are still living there. The golf course is still open, according to spokesperson Sasha Itzikman, but the clubhouse is closed.
In December, Montesoro defaulted on $9.2 million of water and sewer bonds. According to Judy Meier of the Borrego Sun, 87 percent of that sum went into default. There are rumors that the local water district could wind up owning Montesoro, but Rich Williamson, head of the district, says that he is waiting for information from bond counsel to determine what happens next. "We are sending letters to property owners [at Montesoro] that we are intending to foreclose on to give an opportunity for them to make good," says Williamson. He has not heard about any possibility of bankruptcy of Montesoro's owner, he says. There has been talk that Borrego is critically short of water, but Williamson says that, unlike Southern California cities to the west (including San Diego), Borrego has 50 to 100 years of supply left at an aquifer. The water district is negotiating with users (such as agricultural entities) to get them to cut down on usage.