More alcohol seized in connection to resort for ultra-rich

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana officials said Monday that they confiscated over 800 bottles and cans of alcohol in a raid just days after the Yellowstone Club signed a deal to settle charges of serving booze at unlicensed bars at the private ski resort for the ultra-rich.

Officials believe the alcohol seized last month from a terminal that serves club members and others who fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport on private jets belongs to a company owned by two Yellowstone Club executives, Department of Revenue spokesman Sanjay Talwani said.

The liquor, wine and beer were being stored and served at that unlicensed location, according to an agency notice of the June 25 raid. Talwani declined to provide further details.

Yellowstone Club attorney Shane Reely didn't return a call seeking comment.

The allegations are the same as those settled in a $370,000 agreement signed on June 19 that involved the same company and three others licensed to sell alcohol at the exclusive resort that counts Microsoft's Bill Gates, Google's Eric Schmidt and singer Justin Timberlake as members.

A state investigation found that the club was serving alcohol in two bars that had applied for but not received a liquor license in December and January. The club's vice president and general manager, Hans Williamson, had the alcohol removed and stashed in vans when an inspector showed up, the state agency said.

Revenue officials originally proposed revoking all of the posh resort's liquor licenses, but the settlement allowed alcohol to keep being served after the companies paid the fine, briefly suspended serving booze and removed Williamson from oversight and ownership of the liquor licenses.

Revenue officials also approved a new liquor license for the two bars that had been operating illegally and returned over 9,000 bottles and cans of alcohol seized from the club's bars and warehouses earlier this year.

The company named in both raids is H&K Spirits. The Department of Revenue lists Williamson as an owner, along with John Kevin Hinkle, who was chief financial officer of the Yellowstone Club and is now CFO of The Discovery Land Co., which operates the Yellowstone Club and other resorts nationwide.

Another company that owns a Yellowstone Club liquor license and was cited in the settlement is owned by Sam Byrne, the co-founder of CrossHarbor Capital, the company that bought the resort and brought it out of bankruptcy a decade ago.

Revenue department officials said the owners of the seized alcohol have until the end of the month to file a claim for it or it will be forfeited to the state. Talwani said officials will decide whether to file charges after the investigation is complete.

If the agency concludes H&K Spirits broke the law, it wouldn't change or nullify the earlier settlement, Talwani said.

But it could result in new penalties for the company, from fines to the revocation of its liquor license, he said.