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Originally published Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 8:01 PM

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Reward offered in hunt for Yellowstone Club developer’s assets

Yellowstone Club developer and former Forbes 400 billionaire Tim Blixseth, who in May put his Medina home into Chapter 11, is in the news again after an attorney pursuing his assets offered a reward for any hidden properties or bank accounts. Also, Blue Nile launches a site in Arabic.


By Seattle Times business staff

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Local resident and former Forbes 400 billionaire Tim Blixseth, who in May put his Medina home under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, is in the news again after an attorney pursuing his assets offered a reward for uncovering any hidden properties or bank accounts.

The Associated Press reports that the trustee representing creditors of Yellowstone Club, the luxury resort that Blixseth co-founded, said this past week that anyone providing information that leads to the discovery of assets Blixseth might have concealed would receive 10 percent of the profits from those assets.

Brian Glasser, an attorney with Bailey & Glasser of Charleston, W.Va., said creditors decided to act after Blixseth’s 2011 sale of another resort that was part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

“There could be land holdings abroad, land holdings in other people’s names. That’s why we’re appealing to the public,” he told AP.

Blixseth dismissed the reward as a sign of desperation ahead of a federal appellate court’s ruling on the Yellowstone Club bankruptcy and other appeals that Blixseth said could eliminate the creditors’ claims.

“So, I will better their ‘bounty offer,’ ” Blixseth said in an email. “I will offer (a) 50 percent reward to anyone who can find any hidden assets of mine.”

A bankruptcy judge previously said Blixseth diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from a 2005 loan to the resort north of Yellowstone National Park for his personal use. The Yellowstone Club has been under new ownership since Blixseth left the resort in 2008 as it headed into bankruptcy.

Blixseth has spent years and millions of dollars fighting the club’s creditors in multiple court jurisdictions.

In June, a federal judge in California issued a $200 million civil judgment against Blixseth for fraudulently transferring money from the resort. In April, a federal judge in Montana ordered Blixseth to pay his creditors $41 million.

But Glasser said it was the discovery of Blixseth’s 2011 sale of a resort in Mexico that prompted the reward program. Attorneys for the creditors said Blixseth was deceiving the courts over his assets.

A federal judge ordered Blixseth to pay at least $13.8 million for violating a court order by selling the Tamarindo property in the state of Jalisco. Creditors’ attorneys called for his arrest for failing to pay.

“That was the impetus,” Glasser said. “Mr. Blixseth is saying all those funds are dissipated — $13 million. I don’t believe it.”

Blixseth said the goal of the liquidating trust is to redirect attention from the creditors’ wrongdoing in the case. The trust aims to “ransack me and my financial ability so badly I would give up and be bludgeoned into ineffectiveness in my pursuit of justice,” he told AP.

Blixseth’s 5-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot Medina house is formally owned by Kawish LLC, which paid $7.9 million for it in 2007, according to county records. Kawish filed for Chapter 11 protection May 8, a day before the home was scheduled to be sold to satisfy a $590,000 debt.

Blixseth said at the time he expected litigation involving the house “will be settled in the near future,” but three months later that bankruptcy case has grown increasingly convoluted and shows no sign of resolution.

Blue Nile to add Arabic site

Online diamond retailer Blue Nile is launching a site in Arabic for United Arab Emirates shoppers, as it pursues overseas growth.

The Persian Gulf states’ love of bling is big for Blue Nile: The U.A.E., where the Seattle company has been selling diamonds since 2011, has “one of the largest average order sizes we see in our international markets,” Blue Nile executive Jon Sainsbury said in a statement.

International growth is critical for Blue Nile, which recently saw sales for engagement diamonds wobble due to high prices for the stones.

Now the company’s U.A.E. customers can buy jewelry in dirhams, the local currency.

Currently Blue Nile delivers in 45 countries around the world. Blue Nile customers also can access the site in Spanish, French, Japanese and traditional and simplified Chinese, in addition to English.

— Ángel González: agonzales@seattletimes.com

Windows Phone market share slips

Research firm IDC’s latest figures shows Windows Phone’s worldwide market share declined in the second quarter this year to 2.5 percent, from 3.4 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Shipment volumes for Windows Phone were down, too, to 7.4 million in the second quarter this year from 8.2 million last year. IDC notes, though, that this year’s second-quarter volume was up slightly from the previous quarter.

The overall number of smartphone shipments rose 25 percent year-over-year to a total of 301.3 million units shipped in the second quarter this year.

Android (with 84.7 percent market share, up from 79.6 percent last year) and iOS (with 11.7 percent market share, down from 13 percent last year) together made up 96.4 percent of the phones shipped.

— Janet I. Tu: jtu@seattletimes.com



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