Kelowna Mountain developer to move ahead with controversial project

"The bottom line is that this developer is assuring people that these mortgages will be paid off," said Burke.

The controversial Kelowna Mountain development seems to be lurching ahead again.

“But these mortgage debts are well secured … He’s coming back and the development will proceed.”

The controversial developer of Kelowna Mountain has won his latest court battle and is expected to ease back into business as summer gets underway, says his lawyer.

Reinhard Burke, from Burke Law, was in  court this week arguing for Mark Consiglio to be allowed more time to pay debts owed on one of the parcels of land that makes up Kelowna Mountain.

“There are three properties up there, totalling 640 acres. One parcel (where the resort is) is 320 acres in size and there are two more that are 160 acres each. This was the third foreclosure to go to court for one of the 160 acre parcels,” said Burke.  “That property has most of the stadium on it and the amphitheatre.”

In the foreclosure document for that parcel, Consiglio’s lenders claimed they were owed $8 million. That amount was disputed, triggering the trial.

There Burke argued that only $4.4 million was owed  and the court sided with him, granting Consiglio six months from June 9 to pay that amount.

If by Dec. 9 the amount owed isn’t paid, the petitioner can list the property for sale without further order and apply the sale proceeds to the debt. If there’s any deficiency they can claim that  amount from the Cosiglios.

Burke said Consiglio and his wife are personally on the hook for the mortgages, so the lender “will get their money.”

“The bottom line is that this developer is assuring people that these mortgages will be paid off,” said Burke. “The amount owed, compared to what the property is worth is relatively small.”

Burke represented Consiglio on the other two foreclosures, as well. The 320 acre parcel was valued at $15 million and it has $4 million owing. The redemption period to come up with that amount ends in October.

The other 160 acre parcel has a foreclosure order  and a debt of $5 to $6 million, which Burke said will be paid off by the fall.

Squaring away the foreclosure lawsuits will make room for Consiglio to start working in the area again.

“This summer they will be back in the business of agritourism,” Burke said. “That’s not the type of (property) use where you get big money, though …  Mark moved to the Lower Mainland and and has done a number of real estate projects that have been successful. He’s done what he’s needed to do to get the money for these mortgages.”

That move, which prompted the foreclosure lawsuits for failure to pay $50,000 a month mortgages on the Kelowna Mountain property, also raised a lot of eyebrows.

“When people leave town and they leave trailing debts that happens,” he said. “But these mortgage debts are well secured.   … He’s coming back and the development will proceed.”

Burke also noted that the issue of the money not being paid back isn’t entirely on Consiglio. When the creditors went to court because they hadn’t been paid in two years, Burke said it’s because they had been demanding the wrong amount.

“The delay wasn’t caused by the developer in this case,” he said. ” Every issue argued in court, we succeeded on … there’s lots of equity  in those properties.”

Consiglio has a storied history in development. He got his start in the mid-’80s, while working as a waiter at The Keg Restaurant, by winning a $10-million federal Scientific Research Tax Credit to develop an enviro-friendly car named Enterra, based on the Pontiac Fiero.

According to information provided to the Capital News by onetime Kelowna Mountain spokesperson John Harding, when the Kelowna Mountain project first went public in 2006, that $10-million grant became seed funding for his first real estate aspirations as the Fiero line of cars was discontinued, forcing Consiglio to close his production plant.

Within a few years was in legal entanglements over a development in Ucluelet where bills were going unpaid alongside an ugly public divorce.

Those matters resolved, and now married to Nicola Consiglio, his name has remained off the court registry since the early 2000s.

He completed a townhouse development at Big White and The Cottages at Secret Point, a $20-million vacation spot on Okanagan Lake, the proceeds of which were used to start Kelowna Mountain—both its housing development and amenity park.

—with Capital News file information