Hidden Valley barely beat a deadline to pay its delinquent property taxes before the Somerset County resort was to be auctioned at tax sale on Monday.

Just an hour before the tax sale, the financially troubled resort paid $500,000 in cash and signed an agreement that it will turn over almost $205,000 more by year end or when it is sold.

“That’s the only way we’d take it off” the tax-sale list, Tax Claim Solicitor Nathan Rascona said.

Hidden Valley owed $704,570 in back taxes for 2002 and 2003, and $1.14 million overall for the past three years, records reveal.

Its owners, the Kettler family of Washington, said last month they want to sell the ski area, golf course and other property.

“The agreement for the resolution of the tax problems was in place last week,” resort spokes-man Keith James said.

“We continue to move full-speed ahead at Hidden Valley on all levels. The golf course is open and functioning, (as is) the restaurant (and) lodging. And we’re planning for the ski season ahead,” he said.

A resort spokesman has said five serious buyers have emerged, and two others have expressed interest. The bidding deadline is Sept. 30.

If the resort hadn’t paid its past-due taxes by 11 a.m. Monday, about 90 of its properties, including the ski area, golf course and sewage plant, would have been sold to the highest bidder.

That likely would have created a feeding frenzy in the courtroom where the tax sale took place: An unfinished house at Indian Lake skyrocketed to $75,000, though no bids were taken for dozens of pieces of land or trailers.

The delinquent taxes are the latest in ongoing financial problems for the second-largest ski resort in southwestern Pennsylvania.

In early August, Hidden Valley turned over three years of hotel back taxes after the county threatened legal action. At that time, the resort paid $65,611, including about $53,200 for the tax and the remainder in penalties.

Founded by George and Helen Parke in 1949, the resort was purchased in 1983 by regular guest Clarence Kettler.

In all, 25 of 106 properties were sold at the tax sale, officials said.

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