Carlson kin's houses go on the block in Minnetonka

  • Article by: DAVID PHELPS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 30, 2011 - 9:18 AM

One home owned by Curtis Carlson Nelson is in foreclosure; price of the other is $5.45 million.


Curtis Carlson Nelson’s house at 1553 Linner Road, Minnetonka, is in foreclosure and due to be sold at a sheriff’s auction in May.

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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A home owned by beleaguered Twin Cities businessman Curtis Carlson Nelson is in foreclosure and is scheduled to be sold at a sheriff's sale in early May.

The house, built in 1992, holds a mortgage of nearly $3.16 million, according to Hennepin County records, but is valued at $565,400. It is adjacent to another, larger Nelson-owned home on Linner Road in Minnetonka that is up for sale for $5.45 million.

Nelson is named as borrower on the property that is in foreclosure, as is his ex-wife Marjorie A. Nelson, who lives in the home with the couple's two children. The mortgage holder is J.P. Morgan Chase Bank.

Curtis Nelson, who lives in the larger house, was once in line to become CEO of Minnetonka-based Carlson Cos., the hospitality, travel and marketing conglomerate founded by his grandfather Curt Carlson. But a falling-out with other family members ended that succession plan, and Nelson left the company.

His troubles escalated recently with a $3.8 million judgment in a fraud case brought by Crown Bank.

Attempts to reach Curtis Nelson through a representative were unsuccessful.

According to divorce records, both homes were highly leveraged, with loan proceeds used to finance projects including a $10 million remodeling of the larger home.

The remodeling project included $5 million in landscaping and accommodations for a horse-riding daughter to have her own shower, entrance and laundry room to buffer her from the rest of her horse-allergic family.

The divorce attorney for ex-wife Marjorie Nelson, M. Sue Wilson, said Curtis Nelson was responsible for the mortgage payments under terms of the divorce settlement. "He obviously didn't do that," Wilson said.

Wilson said the smaller home was originally valued at approximately $700,000 in the late 2000s. That its value has since declined to $565,400 would be consistent with declining values throughout the metro area, according to data kept by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

In 2009, a special magistrate handling the divorce said the couple's debt was nearly $9.5 million at the date of their separation at the end of 2006. The debt included stock trading losses.

The foreclosure notice was published by the county earlier this month.

According to documents filed in the Crown Bank case, part of Marjorie Nelson's divorce settlement was to be secured by the two residences.

A memorandum filed by Wilson seeking to protect Marjorie Nelson's interests in the bank judgment against Curtis Nelson noted that Curtis Nelson "has failed and refused" to make any payments to a $1.2 million cash property award that was part of the divorce settlement.

David Phelps • 612-673-7269

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