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Latest at Belvedere. (Whispers).

Did you hear there's a new/old owner at Belvedere Country Club in Hot Springs?

Razorback Entertainment Corp., led by Jake Prince, failed to meet a court-ordered deadline 'to buy the 620-acre spread on Jan. 21.

The apparent sticking point?

Prince couldn't come up with the required $1.8 million to close the deal.

Ownership now officially transfers to DHC Resort LLC, led by Little Rock lawyer Charles "Skip" Davidson.

You might recall that Melvyn Bell (through his Belvedere Enterprises Inc. and The Entertainment and Leisure Corp.) sold the project to DHC back in March 2000.

That controversial sale, valued at $1 million, came after Prince failed to follow through on his contact to buy Belvedere from Bell.

Judge Vicki Cook wouldn't allow the Bell-DHC transaction to close, believing it was sham deal designed to defraud the court.

However, Cook cleared the way for the transaction if Prince couldn't close by Jan. 21.

Prince had been something of an interloping, de facto owner since signing a $2.5 million purchase contract with Bell in 1999. He controlled the project for three years without ever actually owning it thanks to court-granted indulgence.

The plan was for Prince to establish an Indian bingo operation, and there was talk of setting up a Quapaw Indian reservation on a piece of Belvedere land to facilitate this.

Gaming on such an Indian reservation, which would operate as a quasi-sovereign state, wouldn't be subject to Arkansas restrictions on gambling.

Both Prince and Bell are no strangers to Indian bingo operations, and Prince has a 30-year track record in the gainbling business.

Prince was involved in the management of the Quapaw Casino & Resort in Miami, Okla., and Bell was involved in managing a gaming operation on an Indian reservation in California.
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Title Annotation:country club gets new owner
Comment:Latest at Belvedere. (Whispers).(country club gets new owner)
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 27, 2003
Words:294
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