IRS: Yellowstone Club Resort Founder Owes $15.4 Million

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS – The Internal Revenue Service on Friday filed a $15.4 million claim against Yellowstone Club co-founder Edra Blixseth for unpaid income taxes during the two years leading to the exclusive Montana resort’s bankruptcy.

The claim was filed in Blixseth’s personal bankruptcy case in Montana.

Blixseth, who lives in Rancho Mirage, Calif., ran the club south of Big Sky for much of the last decade with then-husband Tim Blixseth. The millionaires-only ski and golf resort counts Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and former Vice President Dan Quayle among its members.

Edra Blixseth took full control of the club after her 2008 divorce — just months before it fell more than $400 million into debt. She filed for personal bankruptcy in March 2009, and many of her assets have since been liquidated under court order.

It was not clear what the tax liability stems from. IRS spokeswoman Karen Connelly said federal disclosure laws prohibit the agency from commenting on individual taxpayers.

Edra Blixseth told The Associated Press on Friday that she had not yet seen the IRS claim, which includes $14.8 million in taxes and interest and a $561,221 penalty.

She said the claim would be addressed in a lawsuit filed by the trustee for her estate that seeks to throw out the settlement agreement in her divorce. That agreement gave her the club — and also its massive liabilities.

Tim and Edra Blixseth also owe Montana $57 million in taxes on money taken out of the Yellowstone Club and spent on luxury jets, cars and yachts that they wrote off as business expenses, according to state officials.

With Edra Blixseth bankrupt, state officials have filed a warrant to go after Tim Blixseth’s assets to cover the debt.

The club emerged from bankruptcy when it was bought last year by Boston-based CrossHarbor Capital Partners for $115 million.

The FBI has been investigating Edra Blixseth’s financial activities, but so far no charges have been filed. The probe has focused at least in part on a series of loans she took out in the months surrounding the club’s bankruptcy filing, according to court documents and attorneys familiar with the case.

When taking out those loans, Edra Blixseth listed assets far more than what she later turned out to have. However, the federal judge overseeing her bankruptcy and that of the club has said she was deceived by Tim Blixseth during their divorce and was unaware of the extent of the club’s troubles.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.