HELENA – A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered the release of the founder of a Montana club for the ultra-rich, who has spent the last 14 months in jail for failing to account for the money from the sale of a resort in Mexico.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Yellowstone Club founder Tim Blixseth’s emergency motion for release pending his appeal. The two judges who wrote the order, Alex Kozinski and Richard Paez, did not explain their decision.
Blixseth was released Wednesday afternoon, Cascade County sheriff’s officials said.
Blixseth’s attorneys had tried and failed multiple times before Wednesday to free him from the Cascade County Detention Center, where U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon sent him in April 2015 on a civil contempt order.
Haddon had said jailing Blixseth would coerce him to fully account for the $13 million he received from the 2011 sale of the Tamarindo resort.
Blixseth’s attorneys have said he has done everything he can to cooperate with the judge’s orders. His attorneys reached a $3 million settlement with the club’s creditors in April that closed the Mexican resort case.
Blixseth is out of jail, but his appeal is still before the appeals court. He will argue the documents he produced was a full accounting of the Tamarindo sale and that Haddon’s civil contempt order was not appropriate, Blixseth attorney Becky James said Wednesday.
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