‘Mountain Of Dreams’ has built mountain of debt

By: 
Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

MANCELONA – After purchasing the 75-acre property east of the village of Mancelona in 2017, Sam and Abigail Porter labeled the former Mt. Mancelona as their "Mountain of Dreams."

But what the formerly well-known downhill ski operation has become is a mountain of debt. 

Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer issued a judgment Monday allowing a former investor a "charging order," or a lien, against Mt. Mancelona and Sam Porter.

Abigail Porter was allowed to be dismissed from the lawsuit in mid-March, a month after Leelanau County winemaker Shannon Walters sued Porter for $50,000 that he loaned to the former Traverse City events promoter in 2018 to prevent the couple from losing the property when the Porters were foreclosed on after missing several mortgage payments.

According to the terms of Elsenheimer's judgment, Walters will be able to recoup his investment should Porter ever sell or declare bankruptcy.

Walters’ lawyer, Nicole Graf, told the judge that her client did not believe he would be able to collect his money without the lien.

Elsenheimer's decision came just two months after Porter was able, through a limited liability corporation based in Colorado called Mountain of Dreams, to purchase a $395,000 covenant deed, or title transfer, which allows former mortgagor Antler Bar Real Estate to weigh in on use and development of the property.

Porter's recent legal problems in Circuit Court are in addition to several other lawsuits in recent years for unpaid bills that ended in rulings against him, including a $320,000 settlement owed to local philanthropist Casey Cowell, and a lawsuit filed by former office landlord Hilltop Properties of Traverse City over unpaid rent.

Porter, who labels himself as the "Creative Alchemist, Entrepreneur & CEO" of Mt. Mancelona, is also facing a lawsuit suing him for divorce that Abigail Porter filed in mid-March of this year. That case is still pending.

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