By Lisa Buie, Times Staff WriterIn Print: Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The owner of Paradise Lakes, one of Pasco County's largest nudist resorts, died Sunday night in a Texas vehicle crash that also critically injured his girlfriend.
John Forier, 61, of Land O'Lakes, was killed shortly after 11:30 p.m. after the 1997 Mercury sport utility vehicle he was driving veered off U.S. 385 near Hartley, a small town north of Amarillo, according to authorities. Forier tried to get back on the road but overcorrected, sending the SUV skidding across both lanes and causing it to overturn. Forier, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the SUV, the report said. Authorities pronounced him dead at the scene.
His girlfriend, Pamela Tanner, 51, also of Land O'Lakes, was wearing a seat belt. She was taken to Northwest Texas Hospital with critical head injuries.
Forier, who lived at the resort and in Martinique, bought the 72-acre nudist resort in 2007 with plans to renovate and expand it. His goal was to compete with nearby Caliente Resort and attract young people.
"All of the resorts are trending to get older and older," he told the Times in February. "We need to get new people used to the idea that it is acceptable."
Last year, Forier hired Jay and Amy Roberts to liven up the resort's entertainment and night life. The couple had been running popular pool parties at a mansion in Lutz, and Forier wanted to duplicate the success at Paradise Lakes.
Business doubled at Club Reveal, thanks to sexy themed parties. However, the increased emphasis on raciness drew criticism from some longtime residents. The resort also joined Caliente in leaving the American Association of Nude Recreation, an organization that emphasizes a family atmosphere in nudism.
"He was always very good to me," said Carolyn Hawkins, the association's public relations director, who had met Forier a few times. She said she was surprised when it severed ties with the organization.
Forier also planned a $4 million clubhouse expansion, which will triple the size of the nightclub, upgrade the gym and spa, and the addition of 14 luxury condos and a Japanese steak house. The resort is converting 48 of the 56 hotel rooms into timeshares.
"We hope to be booming," Forier said earlier this year. "The more people who come in and try it, the more people will like it."