Open Talk about Hot Creek Lawsuit

The Town of Mammoth lost the Hot Creek development lawsuit on what some call a technicality. Judge George Randall, who sat on the case, said rules tied to Federal Aviation Administration grants are not regulations and should not have delayed Hot Creek’s condo-hotel project at the airport. The jury found the Town breached the development agreement and awarded Hot Creek $30 million.Town officials strongly disagree and plan to explain why at a special meeting Wednesday night.

Town Manager Rob Clark said FAA grants which benefited both the Town and Hot Creek, said there could be no sale of land at the airport, but the development agreement between the Town and Hot Creek guaranteed a sale of land. The delays over this issue led to the lawsuit.

In his agenda bill for Wednesday’s meeting, Manager Clark says that “the only harm suffered by Hot Creek as a result of the FAA interference was a delay. The development agreement,” said Clark, “specifically states that a delay caused by a federal agency over which neither party has control is not a default.”

The agenda bill says that the Town will appeal the decision. “The legal team,” it says, “believes that we have a very strong case on appeal. The appeal also has the effect of setting aside the damage award.”

Officials say a settlement of this dispute is still possible. That’s another alternative. Meanwhile, officials say the Town Council needs to prepare to deal with a major financial loss like the $30 million judgment. Staff members are talking about hiring another law firm and other experts. Finally, officials said they are talking about all of this publicly since the loss of $30 million could impact service levels, employees and the Town’s ability to address emerging needs.”

The meeting – Wednesday, 6pm, Suite Z. A closed session will follow open discussion.

 
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