Cabin owners say Lutsen Lodge owed them money before fire

Following the devastating fire this week that destroyed the historic Lutsen Lodge, FOX 9 has learned several lawsuits were filed against the resort by neighboring cabin owners, just days before the blaze.

Since Feb. 1, four property owners, whose cabins were managed and rented out by Lutsen Resorts, have claimed they are owed a total of more than $50,000 by the owner of Lutsen Lodge, with several stating they last received payments in July.

Karin and Bob Nagel, like so many others, felt the loss when they heard the news of the fire at the resort along Lake Superior in Minnesota's Arrowhead region.

"Super devastating... thankful it didn’t climb up the hill to other properties, so that’s a good thing," Karin Nagel reminisced.

The Nagels married at the lodge in 2013 and bought a nearby cabin the following year.

Like many of their neighbors, the cabin was booked and managed by Lutsen with rental fees split 50-50 with the resort. However, since the current owner took over in 2018, the Nagels have experienced issues with late payments, but now say, for the last four months of 2023, they haven't been paid at all to an estimated $13,000 owed.

Bob Nagel shared their frustration, citing excuses like "Oh, a computer’s broken down, we’ve got a new accountant," for the lack of payment.

They filed a civil claim against the owner of Lutsen Resorts on Feb. 1, followed by three other cabin owners with similar grievances regarding payments since August, before the abnormally slow winter months – and even though the fall months were busy. "And we just want our money. You know, super sad about what happened to the lodge, but today we would like our money," Karin Nagel expressed, uncertain about the likelihood of seeing any compensation.

The Nagels' agreement with Lutsen Resorts expired at the end of 2023, and they, along with several others, have since switched to a different management company. Attempts to reach Bryce Campbell, the owner of Lutsen Lodge, for comment, but have been unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, the state Fire Marshall's Office is continuing its investigation into the cause of the fire.