Saddleback Mountain is a non-operational ski area located in the beautiful town of Rangeley. This remote mountain in western Maine seems to have always flown under the radar as it was continually overshadowed by nearby Sugarloaf. This author can verify that Saddleback is a truly special, low-key ski area with some stellar ski terrain. The shutdown of this local friendly mountain is having a huge impact on Maine skiers.
Over the past couple years, local skiers and businesses aimed to raise money purchase the resort and use the Mad River Glen model to turn it into a co-op. Unfortunately, the group could not raise the necessary funds.
In the summer of 2017, we saw hope come from overseas as an Australian developer named Sebastian Monsour and the Majella Group stated they were interested in purchasing the resort. Everything was in order for the transaction to go through and in September 2017, Majella stated that there would be skiing at Saddleback in the 17/18 season.
Unfortunately that promise was never realized and Monsour announced a delay in the sale of the resort. The hill sat unused all winter and in June 2018, Monsour was arrested for fraud in Australia.
“Sebastian Monsour, CEO of the Majella Group, was arrested Thursday afternoon following a raid of his office in Brisbane, Australia. Police in Queensland said during a press conference that the arrest followed a “long and protracted investigation” into allegations by a Chinese investor that Monsour did not invest the $5 million as he was supposed to.
Police are still trying to determine how the money was used and said it will likely not be recovered. During the raid, police seized financial records and electronic evidence.
The Chinese investor, who now lives in Australia, filed a lawsuit in December accusing Monsour of deceit and taking advantage of an Australian visa program.” – Portland Press Herald
The fraud case seemed to be a nail in the coffin for Saddleback’s hope of reopening for the 2018/2019 season. Between the failure to get the deal done in September 2017 and the primary financier’s arrest, it ain’t looking good.
On Sunday, September 2nd, an Australian hotel/pub owned by Monsour mysteriously burned down in the wee hours of the morning after major re-development plans were withdrawn. Essentially, the Majella Group had planned on flipping the historic site and building a 27-story tower but after hitting some snags, Majella withdrew the development plans. Now the historic hotel/pub has burned down and the area is being treated as a crime scene.
Find the entire Portland Press Herald article here: Australian developer who pursued purchase of Maine’s Saddleback resort charged with fraud