Appellate court finds Blixseth accusations against bankruptcy judge unfounded


BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Ninth U.S. Circuit court of Appeals found that accusations made by Yellowstone Club co-founder Tim Blixseth against the bankruptcy judge overseeing his case are unfounded.

In 2010, bankruptcy judge Ralph Kirscher handed down a $40 million dollar judgement against Blixseth. Blixseth objected to the plan, blaming the bankruptcy on his ex-wife and others. But the court disagreed, saying Blixseth misappropriated cash and resort property.

During the appeals process and rehearing the bankruptcy case, Blixseth alleged multiple incidents of misconduct by Judge Kirscher and requested Kirscher remove himself from the case. Kirscher refused.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed Kirsher's refusal and found Blixseth's claims were duplicative and baseless.

The appellate court found Judge Kirsher's meetings with debtors and bankruptcy bidder with Blixseth being present were not improper, that Blixseth was not denied due process in court proceedings and that reportedly biased statements amount to Blixseth choosing a handful of quotes from "an enormous record."

The appellate court concluded its opinion saying "Blixseth's claims are a transparent attempt to wriggle out of an unfavorable decision by smearing the reputation of the judge who made it."

Court documents say Blixseth and his attorneys leveled 19 accusations of misconduct against Kirscher. The court call the conduct unprofessional.

Blixseth and his counsel Michael James Flynn Sr., Phillip H. Stillman, Patrick T. Fox, Michael J. Ferrigno, and Christopher J. Conant have 30 day to explain to the court why they should not be sanctioned. Sanctions could be up to $5,000 apiece and include court fees and costs.