LV Air majority partner says he was deceived … Polselli offered to pay 10 percent
By Jacob Wheeler
Oscar Peters — the British-born billionaire international banker who was helping Eneliko “Liko” Smith launch Las Vegas Airways (LV Air) before Smith turned his attention toward Sugar Loaf — has dropped out of the game. Peters’ exit might leave the West Coast hotelier with no viable way to acquire the long-shuttered Leelanau County ski resort.
Liko Smith had advertised Peters’ financial support on his Facebook page, “The Rok at Sugar Loaf” earlier this week, claiming that he was “partnering with Billionaire Financier Oscar Peters.” But those words have since been removed. In fact, Peters never even knew his name was being floated as an investor for Sugar Loaf.
Peters called the Glen Arbor Sun, via Skype from Sweden, Thursday afternoon to categorically deny that he had any interest in buying Sugar Loaf. Peters had never even heard of Sugar Loaf before Smith published a press release on Saturday via PRNewswire, announcing that he had acquired the ski resort, with Peters’ help.
“We are not involved with Sugar Loaf and we will never be,” Peters said. “You may have a beautiful state in Michigan, but I’m not interested in the resort. Mr. Smith went behind my back.”
The Sun reported earlier this week that Liko Smith has made an offer of purchase for Sugar Loaf, which realtor John Pepper has listed at $5.7 million, but counteroffers are still being accepted. In other words, the property has not sold.
In a phone call to the Sun early Friday morning, Liko Smith claimed that using Oscar Peters’ name on The Rok’s Facebook page was an unintentional mistake, and that the Brit was never intended as an investor for Sugar Loaf. In a hastily-written press release, Smith added that he “has fired Oscar Peters as his partner in LV Air and banned him from contact with LV Air or anyone associated with the Rok or Sugar Loaf due to a recent false interview with the Glen Arbor Sun.”
Smith reportedly approached Peters just under a year ago to encourage the magnate to invest in LV Air — a Las Vegas-based luxury global charter airline to serve wealthy clients on direct flights from China, Russia, South America and the Middle East. Smith writes on his website about being all but rescued by Peters. Peters liked the idea for LV Air, but worried about Smith’s troubled business past, which includes a failed venture with the Block Hotels in Nevada in 2009, a failed attempt to acquire Sugar Loaf in 2010 and a 45-day stint in prison for failing to pay room taxes to the City of Tahoe.
“He has good marketing ideas, but that’s all,” Peters said about Smith. “We’d be the majority owners, and he’d be working for us as a small shareholder. He promised me he would stay out of further trouble.”
Peters and Smith proceeded with the venture to launch LV Air. “It’s an international airline, far more global in reach than domestic,” Peters told the Las Vegas Sun in July. “Asian and Russian casinos are reaping far more than Las Vegas casinos. There is far more money internationally than in the U.S. currently. But wherever you go, Las Vegas is still the Gaming and Entertainment Capital of the World, and players from Dubai, South America, Mexico, China and Brazil aren’t afraid to spend — and they want to do it in Las Vegas.”
But last week, Smith asked Peters and a business partner for a one-month leave of absence “to work with a hotel friend of his to set up a hotel in California.” Smith currently works out of the New California Hotel in Laguna Beach, which is owned by Remo and Hanna Karcho Polselli — former Sugar Loaf owners who control the mortgage and for years have played a game of cat-and-mouse with Leelanau County to avoid forfeiting the property.
“All of a sudden we find out through my attorney that he had bought this Sugar Loaf place in Michigan. And he announced my name, and put it on his website.”
Peters told the Glen Arbor Sun that he called Liko Smith Wednesday to confront him and tell him that he had no interest in Sugar Loaf, nor was he pleased that the enigmatic former boxer had gone behind his back.
Smith had previously promised Peters that he no longer associated with Remo Polselli, himself a former felon for failing to pay taxes on a Detroit hotel that he owned. But yesterday, from Polselli’s New California Hotel, Smith told Peters that Sugar Loaf was a good investment, and that Polselli had offered to finance 10 cents on each dollar “because he’s a good friend”. The Sun has confirmed that 10-percent figure through a secondary source.
Thursday, Smith sent Peters a letter, appealing to the magnate to consider investing in Sugar Loaf. “On top of offending me by going behind my back, he’s trying to sell (the resort) to me!” said Peters.
Peters forwarded the Sun the text of that letter:
From: Sean Smith
Sent: Thu, Oct 3, 2013 02:28 PM
Subject: The RoK
The most recent press- http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1505178, I’m bringing in the best to get this done correctly.
I have been offfered 6.5M for the terrain park land, and Burton Snowboards, the largest in the US, is coming on board to staff the 150 snowoboarder boot camp which will be televised…the site in the summer can hold Woodstock..I believe it will be an amazing venue for concerts- Traverse City is the wealthiest in the Great Lakes..and the main feeder market is Chicago.
The upside on this project is about 20M USD, (Profit) if we can recover the site; instead of fighting about it- why don’t I add it in as an OPI Project for funding, you can use it to raise capital on a lucrative site in the US, it is the top mountain in the midwest…operational for 3 years, and we can sell it for 50M and still keep the name rights (The RoK) and receive a franchise fee….something to think about.
I am heading to the office, I will definitely call tomorrow morning at9am (1am LA Time).
Eneliko Sean Smith
CEO and Partner
Las Vegas Air
Las Vegas, NV
Oscar Peters has also sent a Cease and Desist Letter to Liko Smith. Read it here.Liko-CeaseandDesistLetter
Liko Smith responds to Oscar Peters
Press release, published Friday morning: Extreme Entrepreneur Liko Smith has fired Oscar Peters as his partner in LV Air and banned him from contact with LV Air or anyone associated with the Rok or Sugar Loaf due to a recent false interview with the Glen Arbor Sun. Peters had given Smiths company, LV Air a term sheet for 42M nearly 10 months ago yet never funded.
Unbeknownst to Peters, Smith had received a call from a fellow entrepreneur overseas who had the unfortunate experience of dealing with Oscar Peters for the past 10 months. Smith learned that Oscar Peters Industries had drawn out many businesses all over the world to the point of Bankruptcy. Apparently, and confirmed by Smith, the OPI business model is collecting Letters Of Intent and then selling them as owned businesses. Several key sources dealing with Oscar Peters collaborated on this Upon confirming the reports, Smith conferred with his partners and agreed to fire Oscar Peters from the Partnership at LV Air in a private letter to his firm.
“I spoke to this gentleman from overseas, who took the time to call me after he saw my website homepage. He tried to warn me earler this year about Oscar Peters. Oscar acknowledged knowing this gentleman and spoke badly about him. This gentlemen confirmed to me that Oscar had been involved in at least 3 other businesses that he had not funded for nearly a year, while signing LOI’s and more advanced commitments. One ended tragically due to non delivery of funds.. apparently OPI is broke..I am familiar with the businesses mentioned by this gentleman. I made a few calls to confirm these facts and the rest is history. I felt sick but I knew it was the right thing to do. Luckily, he was never an investor in the RoK.
Peters recently gave an interview to the Glen Arbor Sun claiming differently. Smith laughs at the notion. He said I used his name as an investor, in every release on The RoK he is not mentioned once. He claims that I advertised him on facebook, I only posted his picture from interviews by Leach and Sutherland that I now regret arranging, he claims Remo sold me Sugar Loaf for 10 cents on the dollar – that is absolutely ludicrous . He claims I was at Remo’s office; apparently he knows who sold me Sugar Loaf” says Smith. He told nothing but lies because he was cut out of a possible paper trade. He reminds me of the Bullies I used to beat up as a kid, using fear to motivate people.
“My investor for Sugar Loaf is a real person that has walked to the top of Sugar Loaf with me and felt the moldy toilets. Not a paper trader from England that has never set foot in Michigan”. As to Jacob Wheeler, my hat is off to him for his investigative skills but I give him an F on objectivity. However, if he or anyone else wants to check my sources, you have my number if you’re interested in the truth” This is why people like me, stay away from reporters. Now let’s get back to doing the real work of opening this mountain” says Smith. As for Peters, “Welcome to The Rok”.
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