(Update with Town comments, Tuesday, 3pm)
Jay Becker of Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition emailed a letter to local media that accused the Town of Mammoth Lakes of bad faith conduct in the ongoing negotiations over Mammoth’s $42 million court judgment debt. One Town Council member called the MLLA letter untrue, self-serving and posturing.
Becker emailed a January 27th letter from an MLLA attorney, Eric Winston, to a Town of Mammoth lawyer, David Kupetz. The letter says that the Town has declined to respond to the December 14 offer from MLLA to resolve the debt.
The letter claims MLLA offered a discounted payment and ways to carry it out. The letter also says it is “shocking” that the Town chose to cease settlement efforts. Councilman Rick Wood called the MLLA email a posturing letter. “We have remained ready, able and willing to continue negotiations,” said Wood. To MLLA’s claim that Mammoth has ceased settlement efforts and has acted in bad faith, Wood said, “That’s not true. We continue in good faith to resolve the issue as we have in the last 9 months.”
Wood said it was ill-advised that MLLA made their letter public. He pointed to a confidentiality agreement. The MLLA letter to media did black out several portions. Wood said the Town Council will consider the MLLA letter and “other developments of which you are not aware,” he said. The Council did plan to meet again in closed session Wednesday morning.
MLLA’s letter also said that they would not consider any further extensions of the standstill agreement which kept MLLA from collecting money from Mammoth and kept Mammoth from filing bankruptcy. So, now the pressure is on.
Mayor Jo Bacon declined to comment because issues remain in closed session. Councilman Skip Harvey said he remains optimistic for a resolution. “I hope neither party will become antagonistic,” said Harvey.
(Original story posted Tuesday at 11 am.)
Jay Becker of Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition has revealed to local media that the Town of Mammoth Lakes has declined to respond to MLLA’s December offer to resolve the more than $42 million court judgment and costs. An MLLA lawyer said the Town’s conduct “smacks of bad faith.” Town officials have not yet responded.
Becker emailed a letter to Sierra Wave from one of MLLA’s lawyers, Eric Winston, that had been sent to a Town of Mammoth Lakes lawyer, David Kupetz, January 27th. The letter says that the Town has declined to respond to the December 14, 2011, offer from Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition to resolve the amount owed in the court judgment against Mammoth.
The letter says MLLA’s “prior proposals provided for a substantial discount on the amount the Town owes, outlined concrete steps for the Town to take advantage of that substantial discount, and requested that the Town take the matter seriously by moving on a timely basis.”
The letter says it is “shocking” that the Town chose to cease settlement efforts. The MLLA lawyer also takes the Town to task for reporting to the local news and to MLLA that they intended to act in good faith and to respond with a counter proposal.
MLLA’s lawyer wrote that it was MLLA that reached out to initiate resolution discussions and willingly entered into a standstill agreement which allowed the Town to suspend any payment of the big debt. Attorney Winston wrote that “MLLA has extended that standstill seven times. MLLA representatives made several trips to the Town in order to work with the Town’s staff in order to identify the Town’s core needs and better grasp the Town’s financials, all with a goal towards a consensual resolution.”
Winston accuses the Town of failure to follow through on representations. His letter says of the Town, “Its conduct smacks of bad faith. Please be advised that MLLA will not be agreeing to any further extensions of the standstill agreement….” That agreement expired February 1, 2012.
We have placed calls to Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht, Financial Consultant Marianna Marysheva-Martinez and to Councilman Rick Wood. Sierra Wave did speak to Mayor Jo Bacon who said she could not comment because it’s a closed session item. She did say, “There are actions going on.” When asked to respond to MLLA’s claim that Mammoth has ceased negotiations, Bacon said, “That’s their version of it.” She said the Council would meet again in closed session Wednesday morning.