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Rating:Amerindo Founder Faces Liquidity Crunch Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, March 28, 2003

Amerindo Founder Faces Liquidity Crunch

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Alberto Vilar, founder of Amerindo Investment Advisors, is facing foreclosure on properties he owns in the ski-paradise of Vail, Colorado. Vilar, though, denied the reports in the Denver Post that the banks on the verge of taking over three properties.

Vilar said that the bank has filed preliminary paperwork for foreclosure, but that no proceedings have actually started. He added that the problems arose on a "small" second mortgage on one of the properties and that the interest on that second mortgage is accruing until April. He also reportedly negotiated with the banks to delay some payments on the mortgages.

The Post reports though that he is behind on mortgages that a worth some $2.74 million. The paper did not specify how much of the payments were passed due, but it added that banks filed foreclosure proceedings on three of Vilar's four Vail Valley homes in Eagle County court.

Alpine Bank filed to foreclose on a $1 million loan for a 15,000 square-foot, 19-room home, according to the paper. That property was priced at $8.9 million in 1992. WestStar Banks filed on a $760,000 loan for a three-bedroom home in Singletree and Wells Fargo is seeking to foreclose on a $975,000 loan for a four-bedroom home in Beaver Creek.

If the banks do foreclose, Vilar will not be homeless. He maintains a 30-room apartment in Manhattan and keeps homes in London and Puerto Rico.

Vilar is not happy with the news reported by the Post and he said he does not expect the foreclosures to go through.

"I think this is unfortunate, having done as much as I have for the Vail Valley," Vilar said in a prepared statement. "This has unfortunately served to dampen a great deal of my enthusiasm for the Vail Valley - it gives the impression that my relationship with the community is one-way and not two-way."

The Amerindo Technology Investors fund was one of the high-fliers of the tech bubble and held stocks such as AOL. At its peak it held $679 million in assets, according to Morningstar. It now holds less than $59 million. Still, the fund has gained 8.7 percent so far in the first quarter of 2003 and is beating its peer group.

The turnaround may be too little to salvage all of Vilar's plans, though. At its peak, the investment manager claimed more than $9 billion in total assets under management. That figure has dwindled to $1.5 billion in assets because of the meltdown in the value of tech stocks.

Vilar had pledged to contribute $1 million per year to the Vilar/Domingo Young Artist Program run by the Washington Opera. His name was dropped from the program when Vilar did not come through with the funds. He is also behind on pledges made to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Vilar says he will fund the $4 million pledge when his liquidity position improves.  

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