The New York Times says the suit alleges a "loan-to-own"scheme that involves racketeering, breach of fiduciary duty, mailand wire fraud, money laundering and negligence. It was brought onbehalf of at least 3,000 investors in the four resorts, includingthe Yellowstone Club in Montana, the Tamarack in Idaho, Lake LasVegas in Nevada and Ginn sur Mer in the Bahamas. All four havedefaulted on loans or filed for bankruptcy. Involvement of 4,000 to5,000 more litigants at 10 other resorts, including the PromontoryClub in Utah, is pending, according to the Times.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that Credit Suisse and C&Wconspired by setting up a Cayman Islands branch to bypass federallaw on real estate appraisals, and then inflating the value of theresorts. The two companies allegedly made millions of dollars infees on loans against the properties, according to reports in theTimes and the Financial Times. Credit Suisse wasaware that the resorts would most likely default amid inflatedvalues, thus allowing the bank to take ownership on behalf of thecreditors, the suit alleges.

Spokesmen for both Credit Suisse and C&W were quoted assaying the allegations were "without merit."

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.