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Spa Owner Drops $546,000 Bid for Matilija Springs

May 12, 1988

The Malibu firm that successfully bid $546,000 in February to purchase Matilija Hot Springs, a historic county-owned spa outside Ojai, has called the deal off.

Fritz Boyce of Syntropic Health Spas has asked that his $20,000 deposit and other expenses be refunded, maintaining that the county misrepresented the condition of the property. He said he does not want to pay the balance, which was due May 2, because he fears being tied up "correcting the problems for a great many years."

However, the county is sticking to its guidelines, which were made clear at the auction, said Ray Holzer, real property agent for the county's public works agency. The property is to be sold as is and deposits are not refundable, he said.

Since February, Boyce has met with county officials who he said were supportive of his plans to make Matilija Hot Springs a world-class health spa.

But, he said, he was not aware before his purchase of numerous problems involving drainage, the septic tank and other matters.

"I'm rather disappointed," he said. "I'm still very enamored of the project. I would love to go ahead with it."

And so would the county. "We spent a lot of time and money trying to get it closed," Holzer said.

The property will be on the auction block again later this month, starting at the same base price of $300,000.

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