Major Cayman land owner admits financial turmoil

| 23/01/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman local news, Cayman Real Estate(CNS): Stan Thomas, the man who owns more than 300 acres of prime real estate along West Bay Road from the Yacht Club to Morgan’s Harbour, has revealed the extent of his financial problems in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The owner of the now closed Courtyard Marriott and the man who once had extensive plans for developing his land in the Cayman Islands says that before the economic crash he took borrowing for granted.  “I took it for granted you’d always be able to borrow money. Maybe at 18 to 20 percent like the 1970s, but that I’d always be able to borrow money. I’ll never take it for granted it again,” he told AJC.

Although he says he had an inkling of the coming meltdown in 2006 when some people pulled out of an Orlando project at the time Thomas says he attributed it to the effect of a bad hurricane season.

In the piece which reveals that at the end of last year Thomas, a long-time developer, put three major projects into bankruptcy protection he says he also narrowly averted foreclosure on one of his signature retail developments but is now pursuing foreign investors to bankroll his projects.

He hopes to salvage the three projects in bankruptcy, as well as those on hold and says he is changing his strategy, planning projects in “bite-sized bits” that are more easily financed. But his gut-level faith in real estate development — and his ability to mine gold from it — is unshaken. “I know how to make money and I will continue to work hard and do that,” Thomas said. “Everyone has always said, ‘Stan, you work harder than anyone I’ve ever seen.’ I’ve never asked anyone to work harder than I will.”

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Comments (13)

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  1. Belair Resident says:

    Great, so that’s another Development off the table.  What will Cayman survive on over the next few years?

    • Anonymous says:

      We are all going to become civil servants.  The civil servants will be funded by the royalties from Steve McField’s upcoming movie "The Wonderful Seamen of Cayman and How The Were Responsible For Everything Good In The World"  and from Ezzard Miller’s proposal to make foreigners sell a pint of their blood every week.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If I recall, Mr. Stan Thomas’ excuse for closing the Courtyard Marriott was ‘hurricane damage’. Hmmm, sounds like he’s being less than straight with his Cayman Islands hosts, and particularly the staff who were laid-off 

    • Meteo says:

      I think the accurate phrase would be "mild tropical storm" damage. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m happy to say your paranoia/suspicions/skepticism/cynicism is unfounded and it is not in fact possible for the Courtyard Marriott to take in guests. And that’s NOT in Stan’s interests – he would make it happen if he could.  

      • Just Checkin says:

        Are you Stan Thomas’ mother in disguise?

        No other building suffered ehm "hurricane" damage in Grand Cayman as a result of the mild nudge of a tropical storm that clipped the island such that they had even short term issues.  I real find it odd that a properly maintained but underoccupied hotel suffered such terrible damage just as the recession was biting.

  3. John Evans says:

    Why is it that people like this always blame someone else for their downfall?

    To quote the article, "Thomas owns two ranches where he breeds Angus cattle. One of them is his main residence in Sharpsburg, near Newnan. He owns several other residences and a fleet of aircraft including two Gulfstream V luxury private jets and a helicopter."  Presumably all purchased from the proceeds of projects he financed using other people’s money. It then says he somehow, "succumbed to easy credit," or in plain English greed got the better of him.

    This is a bit like people who max out all their credit cards and finance a car they can’t afford then blame the lender when their income doesn’t cover the repayments.

    In the meantime one of the premier hotels in Cayman stands empty depriving the island of much needed revenue and employment.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you dont "live in McKeevas pocket", you dont survive in Cayman and Mr. Thomas is a man that CANNOT be bought by NO Politician, so everything was stacked against him surviving in Cayman.

  5. Mozzie Fodder says:

    How the mighty fall!!

    And Kim Lund is still telling people that SMB real estate is booming…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you mean Kim "there has never been a better time to buy" Lund?  The last two years of the Lund Report make quiet entertaining readig when read one after the other.

    • irie says:

      We should never rejoice in other people’s downfall or misfortune.  Mr. Thomas’ shrinking fortune costs many jobs and sometimes lives when desperate people who are unemployed take their own life or are stressed to death.

      On a funnier note, you actually mentioned Kim Lund….why?  All he ever says in his Real Estate Sector Reports/outlook is "IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BUY REAL ESTATE!" 

      Whether rain or shine, feast or famine, these people are all about the sales pitch.

      If ever an industry that needed revamping, it’s the real estate open folks!

  6. Joe Average says:

    Stan, maybe you should read about Basel II and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland.

    • Anonymous says:

      As an American with interests, business and personal, in Cayman I just want to say to all Caymanians that what you are going through economically is a cake walk compared to American businesses. Especially small business. Mom and Pops are closing up every day. The construction industry is not in a recession but a depression and every business from coast to coast is hurting in one way or another. Yes, perhaps there was greed in some instances but for the most part  business owners are responsible and are risk takers with their own money. For you who have always signed the back of a check and not the front it might be hard for you to understand. Your reader taking Mr. Thomas to task for his personal wealth is unwarranted and if he is the person I think he is will sell all and risk it again. I do not know Mr Thomas and have never done business with him but he is the kind of person I would do business with. He will come back as will American business. It may take some time but we will be back stronger than ever but first we have to take our country back and we are in the process of doing so and you can see that by following the American political scene.