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Lake Lawn Resort closes its doors

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ANN MARIE AMES
December 8, 2010
— Joe Salitros enjoyed a cheeseburger at Lake Lawn Resort on Tuesday.

While he ate his lunch, other visitors had their pictures taken in front of the fireplace or the big windows. Ducks swam in cold Delavan Lake.


The only thing wrong with the familiar picture: It was the last cheeseburger Salitros will eat at the resort as we know it.


Salitros confirmed that Tuesday was the last day of operation at Lake Lawn Resort, which has been a popular vacation spot since 1878. City officials will meet later this week with officials from Lake Lawn and Anchor Bank of Madison to talk about the building's security in the coming months, Salitros said.


"We'll meet to kind of go over who's got the keys, who do we call, are lots going to be plowed, those sort of things," Salitros said.


On Tuesday, the game room was emptied of game machines, and food was expected to be returned to vendors or donated to local food pantries, Salitros said.


"The bank is certainly controlling the property," Salitros said. "Things that others owned are being removed from the property. The Pepsi truck was there today."


Anchor Bank in October bought back Lake Lawn in a foreclosure sale for $19.97 million. The bank in August 2009 filed a foreclosure suit against the resort owners for a $51.9 million loan; the court awarded the bank $24.35.


Two days after the sale, Lake Lawn management sent a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development announcing that it was giving termination notices to 126 full-time employees. The jobs would end Dec. 7, the letter states. Fifty seasonal employees and 110 part-time employees also will lose their jobs, the letter states.


City officials remain hopeful the resort will operate for at least part of 2011. The city created a budget that includes $254,545 in room tax dollars from the three hotels in the city other than Lake Lawn and from Lake Lawn for nine months of operation.


"I believe the city was prepared for this current outcome," Salitros said. "We're still holding out hope that someone will come forward and work out a deal with the bank to have the property open again come spring."


However, many people have said it's likely the resort property will be sold in pieces rather than as a whole, Salitros said.


"It likely won't be taken over by anyone to operate as the resort we have known in the past," he said "That's what we've been led to believe by those we have talked to."



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