The Texas golf resort for which a Louisiana police retirement system borrowed millions made its first sales: Two home sites and five club memberships.
That leaves 60 homes and 295 memberships still up for grabs.
The announcement Tuesday comes months after Boot Ranch - a 2,200-acre luxury development in Fredericksburg, Texas - missed two mandatory sales deadlines.
The project was supposed to make $9 million by December and $18 million by June to prevent the Louisiana Municipal Employees' Retirement System - or MPERS - from yanking a $30 million loan it guaranteed.
"Wow. Now we're only $29.5 million short of what we put into the project," said Gonzales Police Chief Bill Landry -- one of three Louisiana police chiefs who filed a still-pending class-action lawsuit in Baton Rouge state court to stop the Boot Ranch investment and get someone else to manage the fund.
This story has been covered extensively by several Louisiana papers because of the Louisiana pension fund's involvement. With the spotty history of Boot Ranch to date, I'd be concerned, too, if I had money in that pension fund.
A news release from a Boot Ranch public relations firm does not say how much the homes and memberships sold for, nor any information on the buyers.
E-mails and phone calls to Boot Ranch's offices in Fredericksburg and Shreveport were not returned Tuesday. A call to the cell phone of Gilbert Little - who is overseeing the project - was disconnected and several subsequent calls not returned. Tiffany Cole, a San Antonio-based spokeswoman for Boot Ranch, referred all inquiries to Little.
MPERS lawyer Randy Zinna said he doesn't know yet the amount of the sales, but is expecting similar announcements "on a regular and consistent basis now. They're having a strong response to leads."
In the news release, Shreveport professional golfer Hal Sutton, who is developing the project, said only that he is "extremely excited with the contracting of the first two home sites and the fact that five members have seen the great value of joining me as a member of the Boot Ranch golf club and community."
Boot Ranch is a golf club and residence community in Texas Hill Country that developers have dubbed the "Augusta of Texas." Home sites range in size from three acres to 28 acres and are priced from $400,000 to $1.75 million.
It includes a signature course that Sutton designed, a 40-acre practice park, fine dining, on-site fishing, trap and skeet, spa and fitness and local hunting excursions.