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Problems Mount for Prospective Saddleback Buyer
Problems Mount for Prospective Saddleback Buyer
Majella is being sued by an investor for 'misleading and deceptive conduct.'
Wednesday, March 21, 2018, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Saddleback Base Lodge, March 20, 2018
Saddleback Base Lodge, March 18, 2018

The previously announced acquisition of Saddleback has yet to occur and the committed reopening of the ski area this winter did not happen. While powder piles up on decks of the closed Saddleback base lodge, prospective buyer Majella's problems appear to be growing.

According to the Courier Mail, Majella and its CEO Sebastian Monsour are being sued by a Chinese investor for "misleading and deceptive conduct." According to the Courier Mail, President & CEO of TOMI International Fusheng Li is taking part in the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program, an Australian version of the EB-5 program. SIV participants are required to invest $5 million AUD in exchange for a visa.

According to NBC Portland's Kristina Rex, Monsour was "touting various accomplishments in property development, including The Williston-West Church in Portland, Saddleback Mountain, a massive Portland waterfront project of 300 condos, retail space, and a veterans' hospital."

The Williston-West Church is owned by Monsour's father, and is not affiliated with Sebastian Monsour or Majella, according to NBC Portland. The Saddleback transaction has yet to be closed, while the waterfront project was never seriously considered, as then-Portland Mayor Michael Brennan "expressed skepticism."

According to NBC Portland, Majella did not pay Li the interest he was promised, and instead allocated the money to payroll, Australian property, and to its United States office. Li is suing for the return of his $5 million investment.

Meanwhile, according to multiple sources, three of the four offices advertised on Majella's web site are not occupied by the company. Only the listed global headquarters appears to be affiliated with the company, which is a small building on a side street in Brisbane.

Majella Offices

Majella Global Headquarters
Majella Global Headquarters

The latest revelations come a week after a leaked tape was released in which Monsour stated the company was "cash poor" and that "we are not going to lose any sleep" if Saddleback does not reopen.

Background
The latest saga dates back to July 2015, when the Berry family, owners of Saddleback, announced the Rangeley double was "at end of its useful life" and that operations would cease if the lift could not be replaced. The lift was not replaced and the ski area sat idle for the following two winters.

On June 28, 2017, the Berry family announced Saddleback was being sold to the Majella Group. At that time, Majella announced the sale would be completed later in the summer and that a new fixed grip quad chairlift and T-Bar would be installed in 2017. At the time, Majella did not commit to operating in 2017-18.

On September 18, 2017, Majella declared "dominoes have fallen into place" and that "physical work is starting" and that "the first step will be taking down the existing Rangeley lift." As of mid December, the chairs remain on the Rangeley Double. However, chairs were removed from the other lifts and remain on the ground, now buried in snow. Saddleback's lifts have not passed state inspection since November 2014.

Also on September 18, with regard to a 2017-18 reopening, Majella posted, "only thing that is going to hold up or delay this process is Mother Nature" and that Majella was "committed to opening in some capacity for the 2017-18 ski season, assuming Mother Nature does not deliver an early winter with heavy snow."

On November 9, Majella announced delays in the sale, while also adding uncertainty to a 2017-18 reopening by stating it "will not be a full opening, rather a limited operation that, if possible, will allow our Saddlebackers and their families to return and enjoy the mountain in some capacity."

On November 21, NBC Portland reported it had "learned exclusively that the money isn’t there," adding "if the group doesn't come up with the money soon, the deal could fall apart entirely."


  • Saddleback buyer accused of deceit and abusing Australian visa program, according to lawsuit - NBC Portland External link


  • Related Stories on NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
  • Problems Mount for Prospective Saddleback Buyer - September 2, 2018
  • Proposed Saddleback Purchase Involved in Australian Fraud Case - July 10, 2018
  • Prospective Saddleback Buyer Released on Bail - June 22, 2018
  • Prospective Saddleback Buyer Arrested, Charged with Fraud - June 21, 2018
  • Prospective Saddleback Buyer Talked of Arranging Hostesses 'So We Don’t Have to Get the Bloody Brothel Licence' - May 2, 2018


  • More Information
  • Saddleback Mountain Resort on NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
  • Saddleback Mountain Resort on NewEnglandSkiHistory.com


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