Schumer: Greek Peak Resort needs loan to stay open

CORTLAND, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Greek Peak Ski Resort is in jeopardy of closing, according to Senator Charles Schumer, due to financial straights caused by last winter's lack of snow.

Schumer says that more than 1,000 jobs are at risk and he is calling on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to expedite a loan to the resort that would get them to next winter.

Greek Peak has applied for a $1.6 million loan from the FDIC that it desperately needs in order to stay operational until the upcoming ski season. This will ensure Greek Peak’s over 1,000 employees can stay on the job.

Greek Peak’s current troubles mounted last winter, when the lack of snowfall led to a slow ski season. Then, earlier this year, Greek Peak’s primary lender failed, and was taken into conservatorship by the FDIC.

Greek Peak is now seeking additional financing that would allow it to keep its doors open. As conservator, FDIC must approve any new loans, and is currently reviewing the company’s financial condition. Schumer requested that the FDIC expedite its review and explore every viable option to keep the well-known Central New York ski lodge destination and resort open and allow it to prepare for the next ski season.

“Due to the snowball effect of a poor ski season and the failure of its primary lender, Greek Peak Resort needs help bridging the gap between now and next ski season, which would avoid putting over 1,000 jobs at risk,” said Schumer. “Greek Peak, a year-round tourist attraction for Central New York residents and beyond, hit hard times when last year’s lack of snowfall led to a slow ski season, typically the most profitable part of Greek Peak’s business. What’s more, this slow business was coupled with the failure of Greek Peak’s primary lender, which has caused a serious financial crunch at this Cortland County operation. That is why I’m urging the FDIC to expedite its review of this $1.6 million loan, so that once we are sure that Greek Peak’s financial house is in order, the resort will get the immediate lift it needs to make it to the upcoming ski season.”

Schumer was joined by Cortland County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Bob Haight, the owners of Greek Peak and employees as he made his case for the swift FDIC loan review. Greek Peak is seeking approval for a $1.6 million loan from the FDIC that Greek Peak states is necessary to operate the resort until next winter. The FDIC recently advanced the company $200,000 so the company can operate for a few weeks while the FDIC does due diligence to confirm the financial condition of the company.

Schumer applauded this FDIC stop gap measure, which demonstrates their mission to keep businesses running whenever possible. However, additional financing is likely critical for Greek Peak's ultimate survival.

Schumer highlighted the important role Greek Peak has played in Central New York and Cortland County economy, in his push for the FDIC to complete its loan review as swiftly as possible.

In his letter to acting FDIC Chairman Gruenberg, Schumer acknowledged that the FDIC’s primary obligation as conservator is to protect the Deposit Insurance Fund, and ultimately the taxpayer, so its evaluation of Greek Peak’s financial condition is important. But Schumer, noting that time is of the essence, urged the FDIC to expedite its review, so that the resort can make it to the upcoming ski season, assuming it receives a satisfactory bill of health.

The regional ski and lodging resort employs over 1,000 people in the winter months and during the summer employs nearly 300 people. Schumer discussed the thousands of people that flock to Greek Peak year-round from Cortland County, Central New York and the Binghamton region, and the important role it plays specifically for the Cortland County economy year-round. In the last half century, Greek Peak has grown to attract more than 250,000 skiers and snowboarders every year. The resort is also one of the top employers in Cortland County.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to the FDIC appears below:
Dear Chairman Gruenberg,

I am writing on behalf of Greek Peak, a New York company that owns

and operates a ski resort, water park, amusement park and other hospitality businesses. Greek Peak’s lender, Tennessee Valley Bank, failed and was put into conservatorship by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In its role as conservator, the FDIC must either provide or approve any new financing.

The urgency of the situation arises from the fact that the company is an important source of jobs in the Central region of New York, employing up to 1,100 people in the Winter ski season, and nearly 300 currently.

I understand your staff has undertaken a thorough review of the company to determine the financial condition of the company and what realistic options there are for maintaining the business. I also understand the FDIC’s primary obligation as conservator is to protect the Deposit Insurance Fund and, ultimately, the taxpayers.

I am writing to urge you and your staff to complete a thorough but expedient review, and, consistent with your obligations, to leave no stone unturned in your efforts to keep Greek Peak a viable going concern and to preserve these important jobs in upstate New York. If the business can survive, and get back to normal, the FDIC, the company and the Cortland County region will all emerge winners.

Thank you for considering this request. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or my staff if you have further questions

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