Keweenaw Mountain Lodge sold officially

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The finalizing of the sale of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge on Sept. 5, relieved the county of of several millions of dollars of debt, John Mueller of Austin, TX is now the owner of the facility.

EAGLE RIVER — The sale of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge was finalized with John Mueller of Austin, Texas, on Sept. 5, and it removed Keweenaw County from further obligation or debt to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Economic Development Corporation (EDA) and Rural Development (RD).

Keweenaw County was several millions of dollars in debt to the federal government because of grants and loans a previous County Board had secured years ago. The county was not able to pay the government back.

The KML was placed on auction on July 26, by the order of the USDA, and John Lamb of 4 Lambs Properties was the winning bidder. Soon afterward, Lamb assigned his company’s interests in the purchasing agreement to the second highest bidder, John Mueller, of Austin, Texas.

The original closing date was scheduled for Sept. 15, but amid rumors that the lodge was being closed down, Mueller requested the closing date be moved to Sept. 5, which the board agreed to.

“It’s a definite positive for the county to get rid of that, you know,” said Don Piche, chairman of the Keweenaw County Board. “I mean, we’re out about over $4 million in debt.”

Once the EDA receives the money from the sale, Piche said, the county will have no further obligation to the government. Lamb’s winning bid was $1.175 million, the final cost of the property will total $1.3 million.

“We (have) never seen a penny of the money, it all went through Keweenaw Title,” said Piche. “The big thing is we’re eligible (for) grants again after this whole thing gets cleared up, as soon as the EDA gets paid. Now, I don’t really know how long that takes, but it shouldn’t take too long.”

Piche said with the county again eligible for grants, the board can get back to its rightful business, adding, “we can do things we’re supposed to be doing now.”

“The county should never have been in this (resort) business in the first place,” Piche said.