Paulson Officials Accused of Conflict in Golf Resort Suit

Paulson & Co. executives were sued for alleged conflicts in the handling of assets in the bankruptcy of a group of resorts including Miami’s Doral golf course, where Tiger Woods won his 76th PGA Tour event last month.

Michael Barr, Daniel Kamensky and Jonathan Shumaker were sued in New York state court by Five Mile Capital Partners, which accused them of failure to get the highest value for intellectual property as directors.

“The conflicted directors not only ignored these valuable assets, but took affirmative steps to render them less valuable before, during and after the bankruptcy,” Five Mile said in the complaint filed yesterday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

The lawsuit stems from the bankruptcy filing in 2011 of five resorts owned by Paulson, a hedge-fund firm: the Grand Wailea in Hawaii, La Quinta and PGA West in California, the Arizona Biltmore, the Claremont in California and the Doral. Doral was sold to Donald Trump and the other four were sold to Government of Singapore Investment Corp., a sovereign wealth fund, for $1.5 billion.

The lawsuit is “completely without factual basis or legal merit,” Armel Leslie, a spokesman for New York-based Paulson, said in an e-mailed statement.

“Five Mile Capital has filed numerous other claims directed at other parties and every one of them has been decisively rejected by the bankruptcy court,” Leslie said. “We are confident that this suit will be rejected in its entirety.”

Mezzanine Loan

Five Mile is a lender under a $50 million mezzanine loan to an affiliate of MSR Hotels & Resorts Inc., which guaranteed the debt. MSR Hotels is one of a related group of companies that owned and operated the resorts, and it separately owns resort trademarks, logos and copyrights, according to the complaint.

Barr, Kamensky, Shumaker and a fourth defendant, Mohsin Meghji, were conflicted because they served as directors of MSR Hotels at the same time they were directors of subsidiary companies that owned the resort hotels, Five Mile said in the complaint.

They allowed the entities in bankruptcy to use the intellectual property without paying for the assets and allowed the Singapore fund to continue to use them at no cost, according to the filing. Five Mile, saying it’s entitled to damages of $59 million, is seeking a receiver to take control of the assets so they can be sold or licensed.

The case is Five Mile Capital SPE B LLC v. MSR Hotels & Resorts Inc., 651267-2013, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

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