Group buys Ellenville hotel

Alleged cultist tied to purchase of land, hotel, golf course

Times Herald-Record, New York/November 11, 2006
By Paul Brooks

Ellenville — A Korean national whom some have called the new Rev. Moon is connected to a group that has purchased the Fallsview Hotel.

The property was sold last week to the new owners, a group operating as Fallsview LLC. The sale price could not be determined, but the property is assessed at about $6 million.

The sale includes 300 acres of land, the 255-room Fallsview and a nine-hole golf course, according to Tom Holton, the general manager and chief operating officer of the new venture. The resort is just south of Ellenville on Route 209.

The principal investors in Fallsview LLC are South Korean nationals and include Ilchi Lee, although his role in the group is unclear.

Lee carves a wide path on the Internet. He founded a yoga system that has hundreds of schools worldwide and has established an international university, a center for brain study and a meditation center in Sedona, Ariz. He has written several books and travels worldwide.

Lee calls one of his techniques "brain respiration," which he says boosts extrasensory perception.

In 2004, one cult watchdog group labeled Lee as "the new Moon." The reference is to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, who did time in federal prison on a tax charge but went on to own the Washington Times newspaper, among other ventures.

Holton knows of Lee and said he has some relationship with the new owners of the Fallsview. "There is some connection, but I don't know what that might be," Holton said.

Lee could not be reached in Sedona. Charlotte Connors, a spokeswoman for the Dahn yoga organization, said he is not involved in day-to-day operations. Dahn yoga is not a cult, she has said.

For the near term, Holton said, the Fallsview will continue to work with the nearby Nevele Resort for clientele. His job is to develop a marketing plan and oversee improvements and operations at the facility.

"The intent is to capitalize on the baby-boomer generation, to develop a health and wellness center down the road," Holton said. The hotel will hire 75-100 workers.

The new management could take advantage of tax breaks provided by the county Industrial Development Agency. But the former owners did, as well, so the town loses no tax revenues, Wawarsing Assessor Mike Sommer said.

Wawarsing Supervisor James Dolaway said new ownership is good. "I hope it all works out," he said.

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