Dallas police pension system unloads money-losing Aetna Springs Resort in Napa County

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The historic Aetna Springs Resort, a Napa County resort that helped push Dallas’ troubled police pension system toward insolvency, has been sold for a fraction of the nearly $111 million the city sank into the property.

The 3,100-acre Pope Valley resort was recently sold by the public pension fund for $22 million, the Dallas Morning News reported Dec. 30.

The buyer was Alchemy Resorts, which said it intends to restore the deteriorating property and develop “a world-class luxury resort that showcases Napa’s food and wine combined with leading wellness programs.”

It has Napa County approvals for an 80-room resort that integrates a number of historic structures, a winery, vineyards, mineral springs and home sites.

“The historic nine-hole golf course, thoroughly renovated by architect Tom Doak, is part of the project, as well as two large development parcels around Lake Luciana and Turkey Hill,” the sale announcement stated.

The property was among many unusual investments that plunged the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System into financial distress before an overhaul last year.

The system has spent nearly $111 million on the property, which it purchased in 2006, Executive Director Kelly Gottschalk said. Former pension fund leaders went on lavish “due diligence” trips across the world, visited Napa County regularly and often stayed in luxury hotels.

Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman previously served on the pension board. He called the resort the “low-light of the inappropriate purchases” made by the fund.

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