Former CSU directors among Colorado investors in bankrupt mining company

Amy DiPierro March 17, 2017 0

A screenshot of the West Mountain Gold website.

The former president of Colorado State University and a one-time chief innovation officer for the state are among 60 Colorado investors that backed the now-bankrupt gold mining operation WestMountain Gold, court filings show.

WestMountain Gold, which is headquartered in Fort Collins but explores for gold on property west of Anchorage, Alaska, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection March 1. It trades over the counter as a penny stock.

In a bankruptcy filing this week, WestMountain Gold reported a list of its equity shareholders. Many own just a couple hundred to a couple thousand shares in WestMountain Gold, and many list addresses in Colorado.

The SEC tells investors Chapter 11 reorganization frequently calls for canceling existing equity shares to pay secured and unsecured creditors. In other cases, companies emerging from bankruptcy may trade under two ticker symbols: one for existing shares and another for common shares issued in the reorganization.

WestMountain Gold stock traded at $0.035 as of market close on March 16.

The list of shareholders disclosed this week includes Alan C. Yates, who served as Colorado State University President from 1990 through 2003, and Ajay Menon, a CSU dean and former chief innovation officer under Governor Hickenlooper.

More ties to CSU among WestMountain Gold’s shareholders include Paul Hudnut of the university’s MBA program and Joseph Zimlich, who sits on CSU’s Board of Governors.

Additionally, company insiders own a significant portion of WestMountain Gold, including CEO Gregory Schifrin, with a 12.5 percent stake, and director Brian Klemsz, with 5.5 percent.

But WestMountain’s biggest supporter in Fort Collins is BOCO Investments, a major shareholder and lender that it owes more than $6 million.

SEC filings show billionaire philanthropist Pat Stryker, a Fort Collins resident who is heir to medical equipment supplier Stryker Corp., is a trustee of BOCO’s controlling member, Pat Stryker Living Trust. Joseph Zimlich is BOCO Investments’ president.

WestMountain Gold is one of five companies in the West Mountain Co. portfolio, a Fort Collins-based investment fund managed by Brian Klemsz and Steve Anderson, according to its most recent SEC filings. The portfolio includes two Denver-based companies, NexCore Group and RavenWindow.

Yates and Hudnot could not immediately be reached. Zimlich, Schifrin and Klemsz did not return messages seeking comment.

WestMountain Gold also has worked with local mining consultants, listing trade debts to Behre Dolbear & Co. in Greenwood Village, Gustavson Associates in Boulder and Resource Development in Wheat Ridge.

WestMountain Gold reported assets worth $1.6 million and liabilities of $6.5 million in bankruptcy filings this week.

WestMountain Gold is represented by Jenny M.F. Fujii and Lee M. Kutner of Kutner Brinen. Fujii did not return a message seeking comment.

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