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Indicted would-be Tamarack buyer to get new lawyer

Tamarack Resort’s indicted former suitor will get a new attorney after a federal judge Oct. 24 excused his old one because the two weren’t getting along and because government lawyers threatened to call the lawyer as a witness at an upcoming trial.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale allowed Dennis Charney to withdraw from representing Matthew Hutcheson against charges that he raided retirement funds he oversaw of some $5 million.

A trial is still set for Nov. 27, but Dale says a new lawyer – to come from the taxpayer-funded federal public defenders’ office – could ask for a delay. Still, she warned Hutcheson in her two-page order against attempting to reject future attorneys simply to prolong his trial date.

“Considering the nature of the relationship, the court finds it necessary to” remove Charney, Dale wrote. “The court also makes clear that it will not entertain repeated requests for new counsel where adequate and competent counsel has been provided.”

The nature of the dispute that arose between Hutcheson and Charney isn’t evident.

That’s because Dale took them into her chambers at the U.S. District Courthouse in Boise Oct. 23, to question them privately on why they weren’t getting along.

However, her concern Charney could be called by federal prosecutors as a witness against Hutcheson is more clear.

At last week’s hearing, assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Patricco, handling the case for the government, told Dale that federal investigators had discovered documents indicating Hutcheson as late as March 2012 was still trying to assemble investors to help him purchase the ski resort 90 miles north of Boise.

Patricco told Dale that among the investors listed as participating was Charney.

According to Patricco’s account, he called Charney on Oct. 9 to question him about his role in the venture.

“He lists Mr. Charney as a potential investor,” Patricco told Dale in court. “Based on my conversation with Mr. Charney, that wasn’t true.”

Consequently, Patricco suggested Charney could be called as a witness when the trial began, to testify about whether Hutcheson used his name inappropriately to help attract additional investors to the project.

So far, Dale hasn’t made public the documents Patricco cited in her court, despite requests from The Associated Press.

Charney didn’t return phone calls seeking comment on the documents that Patricco said listed him as an investor.

Hutcheson, released from custody in April on the condition he be supervised by his father-in-law, couldn’t be reached for comment. His phone numbers have been disconnected or changed.

Hutcheson, who once helped steward millions in client money, was charged in April with 31 felonies including wire fraud.

Prosecutors say the independent pension fiduciary diverted a total of $5.3 million from retirement accounts he oversaw to not only further his Tamarack bid, but also pay for personal items including a BMW convertible, hot tub, a tractor, barn, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles and a dog house at his house near Eagle that he’s since lost.

Tamarack, meanwhile, remains the subject of separate state court foreclosure proceedings.

A 4th District judge in Boise has cleared the way for a possible sheriff’s sale of assets including more than 2,000 development lots.

That likely would result in a lending syndicate led by Swiss-bank Credit Suisse Group gaining control, though just when such a transaction would take place is unclear.

Homeowners at the resort are still planning to bankroll a ski season starting in December, despite losing about $300,000 last winter.

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