- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A federal judge has ordered Yellowstone Club founder Tim Blixseth to pay at least $13.8 million for violating a court order by selling an ocean resort in Mexico that was part of bankruptcy proceedings.

Blixseth is to pay the full value of the Tamarindo resort at the date of its transfer or its sale price of $13.8 million, whichever is greater, U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon said in his order Monday.

Blixseth must post a bond or collateral in that amount by Feb. 21. He also must by Feb. 14 give a full accounting of the money he received from the sale of Tamarindo in 2011.

In December, Haddon ruled Blixseth was in contempt for selling the property in the state of Jalisco in 2011. The judge said Blixseth took a deliberated, calculated course of conduct that contravened a bankruptcy judge’s order in the bankruptcy proceedings against him.

“None of the arguments advanced by or on Blixseth’s behalf … provide justification or excuse for what he did,” Haddon wrote. “Extreme sanction is both warranted and mandated … to compensate for damages resulting from the contemptuous conduct.”

Blixseth referred questions Tuesday to his attorney, who did not immediately return a call for comment.

He previously said he disagreed with the contempt ruling and planned to appeal. One of his attorneys, Patrick Fox, has said the resort was sold “out of absolute necessity under circumstances outside of Blixseth’s control.”

The resort was in the State of Jalisco, where Mexican drug-cartel violence had resulted in a drop in tourism. Mexican authorities were threatening to seize the resort for unpaid taxes, a possibility that would have resulted in a total loss, Blixseth said in a statement to the court.

He sold it for $13 million - after buying it for $40 million - and all of the proceeds have been spent, he said

Blixseth, a Washington state resident, founded Montana’s ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club before the resort went into bankruptcy in 2008. He has put most of his assets into a Nevada trust out of the reach of his creditors.

The club has since been reorganized and emerged from bankruptcy under new ownership.

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