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HISTORY OF RESORT AND AFFLECK IS TANGLED STUDY IN CONTRASTS

Among the many victims of the controversial AFCO case of the early 1980s were not only the investors in Grant Affleck's financial dream, but Sherwood Hills itself - his sprawling timeshare/condominium resort in the Wellsville Mountains between Brigham City and Logan.

The business was closed for several years after AFCO (the acronym for Affleck Company) became entangled in a timeshare scheme that went awry.Looking through the Deseret News library's files on Sherwood Hills and the Grant Affleck fraud case is a study in contrasts. During the mid-1970s, there were stories about Affleck's being touted as the Boy Wonder of Utah real estate. Then, 10 years later, Affleck was indicted, tried and convicted for fraud, leaving his real estate and financial empire in shambles.

Ironically, in 1982, Sherwood Hills was once the site of Affleck's 25-year Preston (Idaho) High School class reunion, where the developer himself was held in high esteem as one member of the school's class of '56 who "made it." Barely a year later, AFCO was scrambling to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy and by mid-1982, more than 500 Utahns had filed suit against the company in an ever-widening investment controversy.

Undoubtedly, some of Affleck's former investors probably feel that Sherwood Hills, with its aura of Robin Hood, was an apt name for the resort - except that Affleck had been accused of stealing from both the rich and the poor.

Whether or not Affleck intentionally set out to defraud his investors is a moot point by now. He may have just gotten in deeper and deeper, then got desperate. But instead of his investors getting the keys and deeds to their timeshare condos, Affleck was assigned to lodging considerably less attractive in prison.

After Affleck lost the resort by default, it was sold in the fall of 1983 to La Jolla Exchange, a California investment firm. This venture, too, later fell into foreclosure and in the summer of 1987, the property was back on the auction block. Although the resort had been closed, Deseret Federal Savings & Loan Association of Salt Lake City kept a security guard on the premises.

In the summer of 1988, the property was purchased by John Booth and Shirl McKay, proprietors of the Copper Mill Restuarant and a successful catering/industrial cafeteria business in Cache Valley. Booth, whose expertise is in the restaurant and catering field, then sold the hotel portion of the business to his accountant, Larry Caldwell.

When Booth and McKay assumed control of the property in 1988, the lodging and restaurant buildings were, basically, in fairly good condition. Deseret Federal had kept a caretaker on the site and there was very little vandalism.

But there were some problems. One of the two outdoor pools was leaking and had to be repaired. And there was an immense amount of general sprucing up to bring the rooms and restaurant on line.

The new owners - both Booth and McKay and, more recently, the Caldwells - had considered changing the name in order to avoid any bad connotation. But they decided to retain the original Sherwood Hills name, because most travelers through the area were familiar with the property.