Aspen Lakes sale postponed


Last updated 1/3/2023 at Noon

The proposed sale of Aspen Lakes Golf Course east of Sisters has been postponed.

The Wyant family of Salem formed a South Dakota corporation named Rhue Resorts, Inc. with the intent to purchase Aspen Lakes Golf Course and adjoining property in excess of 1,000 acres, to develop as a destination resort that includes wine tasting, a cigar lounge, a campground on a 12-acre lake with paddleboats and canoes, a petting zoo, miniature golf, outdoor concert venue, food trucks, and dude ranch, as well as construction of a town square with apartments and condos.

The property has been owned by the Cyrus family for many years. They are the original builders of Aspen Lakes in 1992 and the adjoining Golf Estates residences, which are not included in the proposed transaction.

When the deal was announced in September, Matt Cyrus said he expected the sale to close in October, possibly November. Now in a statement posted on Facebook on December 29, Cyrus tells golf members that the deal is still pending.

Cindy Wyant, Rhue CEO, told The Nugget on December 30 that they made the decision to pull back on the NFT membership drive amidst the worldwide turmoil surrounding the FTX debacle.

Rhue initially marketed the Aspen Lakes resort project as a luxury adventure resort accessible through purchasing an NFT membership. NFT is short for non-fungible tokens, cryptographic tokens that can come in a variety of forms. Examples include ownership of luxury or rare items. Each NFT is truly unique and cannot be replicated or replaced. Often, NFTs represent digital ownership of something, such as a piece of digital art. In other instances, they can be representative of a physical item, such as real estate property or memberships.

Using smart contracts, NFTs essentially remove the middlemen — brokers, attorneys — and extra paperwork associated with buying a home, condo, or membership. Of appeal to users, ownership is in perpetuity. No annual renewal process is required and ownership can be easily handed down to family members.

The recent collapse of FTX shook the world of cryptocurrency. FTX was a major cryptocurrency exchange, whose customers have lost between $1 and $2 billion in value, putting a damper on the entire crypto market and tarnishing the underlying blockchain technology. Bitcoin and Etherium, two of the world’s most widely held cyrptos, lost two-thirds of their value in 2022, $1 trillion in combined worth.

Authorities in the Bahamas arrested FTX co-founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed the multiple sets of charges he’ll face.

Those were quickly followed by another civil lawsuit filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and, finally, criminal charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

The criminal charges include eight counts that cover allegations of wire fraud against customers and those who lent money to his firms, securities fraud, and money laundering.

Rhue’s ambitious plans were leading-edge in resort ownership, although a price reduction from the original membership offering of $15,000 to $9,500 indicates market resistance. Purchasers always had the option to buy memberships with cash, but Rhue was aggressively committed to the new digital world of NFTs to solicit memberships.

The FTX collapse, and the resulting worldwide skepticism around cryptocurrency and NFTs, appears to have led to Rhue not being able to raise sufficient capital via the NFT route.

Wyant said, “We made a decision to pull back on NFT membership during all the FTX drama. We are looking to fund it with traditional financing. I am working on that now and hope to close by March at the latest.”

When contacted to get the sellers’ take on the postponement, Matt Cyrus said: “I don’t have anything to add to the Aspen Lakes story.”


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