Mediation talks were scheduled to continue today in Southern California between lawyers who represent the Town of Mammoth and Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Holman appointed a judicial mediator to push the two adversaries toward some possible settlement. Meanwhile in Mammoth Lakes, the Town Council planned to hold special closed sessions Monday and Tuesday, apparently to react to mediation developments.
On July 2nd, the Town of Mammoth filed a petition for bankruptcy protection. MLLA’s attorney, Dan Brockett, said his client would fight Mammoth’s eligibility for bankruptcy. He claims the Town dealt with MLLA in bad faith and is not actually insolvent. Mammoth officials have said the Town can not pay the $43 million MLLA lawsuit debt, making them bankrupt.
In court papers that objected to a quick resolution of Mammoth’s bankruptcy eligibility, MLLA lawyers said the Town failed to respond to an MLLA offer, had a documented $5 million per year in “discretionary money”, and made no payment to MLLA. These same documents claim Mammoth has “an axe to grind” because of MLLA’s repeated court victories.
Town officials say that Mammoth has major money problems in addition to the MLLA debt and could not pay MLLA and continue to operate necessary government services.
It is these differences in view that are likely on the negotiating table this week. Officials had said that MLLA also wants more information from Mammoth. Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez said that they want information related to insolvency and a good faith process. She said MLLA also wants to examine if Mammoth’s debt reduction plan is “the best.”
Mammoth is scheduled to appear before Judge Holman again in federal bankruptcy court August 29 for a status conference.