Town of Mammoth and MLLA settle


Seven weeks after the Town of Mammoth Lakes filed for bankruptcy protection, the Town and its major creditor, Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition, have reached a tentative agreement to settle the $43 million court judgment.

For more than a year, officials from the Town and MLLA have talked, then quit talking and finally were ordered to mediate by a US Bankruptcy Court judge. Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez emailed the news of settlement to media and a long list of interested people just after 7pm Tuesday night. Martinez said that “The Town will not be able to provide further comment regarding the settlement” beyond information in the press release.

That release says that the Town and MLLA have reached a “tentative agreement on a settlement of the $43 million court judgment held by MLLA against the Town.” The release says Terrence Ballas is also a party to the settlement. He is the developer holding commercial development rights under the Town’s 1997 Airport Development Agreement and associated leases. The press release says the settlement will address all development agreement contract breaches which were the subject of the original lawsuit that led to a $30 million judgment that expanded to $43 million over several years.

The Town and MLLA have talked about a settlement, guided by US Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris, since August 6th. The press release says the two sides reached an agreement on the amount and terms and “signed a term sheet containing the settlement’s key points. The settlement agreement,” says the release, “including any and all terms, will remain confidential until it is fully documented and executed.”

During the process of documenting and approving the settlement, all discovery and litigation among the parties will be put on hold. Some key bankruptcy court deadlines will remain including a deadline to file objections to the Town’s eligibility for bankruptcy protection by entities not party to the settlement.

Officials say the Town will provide additional information to the public as soon as the settlement documentation is finalized and filed for court approval. This is expected, officials say, within weeks. Then the Town will hold public meetings to discuss how to finance the settlement.

We have emailed a question to Assistant Town Manager Martinez about whether the Town will still pursue bankruptcy protection. We await her response.


Mammoth Lakes, California, August 21, 2012 — The Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition LLC (MLLA) jointly announced today that, as a result of a U.S. bankruptcy court-established mediation, they have reached a tentative agreement on a settlement of the $43 million court judgment held by MLLA against the Town. Also a party to the settlement is Terrence Ballas, the developer holding commercial development rights under the Town’s 1997 Airport Development Agreement and associated leases. The Airport commercial development has been put on hold since legal issues with MLLA emerged over the hotel/residential portion, and the Developer has since asserted various contract breaches by the Town, which the settlement will address.

The parties, guided by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris, a talented and trustworthy mediator, have worked diligently since August 6, 2012, to reach an agreement on the amount and terms, and signed a term sheet containing the settlement’s key points. The settlement agreement, including any and all terms, will remain confidential until it is fully documented and executed.

While steps are taken to document and seek approval of the settlement, all discovery and litigation among the parties will be put on hold. At the same time, some key deadlines established by the U.S. bankruptcy court will remain, including a deadline to file objections to the Town’s eligibility by entities not party to the settlement.

The Town will provide additional information to the public as soon as the settlement documentation is finalized and filed for court approval, which is expected within weeks. At that time, public meetings will commence to discuss how to finance the settlement.

The Town, MLLA and Terrence Ballas sincerely thank U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris, who served as the mediator and tirelessly worked with the parties around the clock to reach the settlement.


55 Responses to Town of Mammoth and MLLA settle

  1. Trouble August 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the people had the right to know what their public officials just agreed to do for them. Chicken ….!

    • upthecreek August 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

      since when do the sheeple have a voice? WAKE UP AMERICA


  2. Observer August 21, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Excellent news!

  3. Questions August 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    That really says a lot. Nothing!
    Why even report.
    Don’t we townspeople get a say in the matter. (public comment)

  4. MotherNature August 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Bad news.. big winners are the over paid attorneys and staff who led us down the primrose path to loosing millions yet another time. Bet they don’t show up late to collect their paychecks and bloated pensions…

    You have to be kidding me.

    These morons (town council) spend tens of millions of dollars to litigate over years, just to settle now in the 13th hour during bankruptcy?

    Something stinks here. This is not grounded is common sense.

    Who is getting paid off? Who is getting a kick back?

    Who is going to pay for this after they just approved a budget that couldn’t support a settlement? Where is the money coming from?

    Now is the time to stand up and speak at a town forum, the same guys who got you here have just made a decision that will saddle you and your kids for the rest of their lives.

    Where is the logic is this ludicrous decision?

    Please Benett, tell me something that makes sense?

    • Questions August 21, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

      of course this whole thing stinks of corruption. Maybe we can stop paying these high priced legal dream team of Bankruptcy fools.

    • upthecreek August 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

      it’s not nice to fool Mother nature,,SPOT ON

    • recuse means nothing August 22, 2012 at 8:33 am #

      I suppose there are some elected officials who aren’t developers and are actually putting the interest of the townsfolk first …
      but when the going gets rough – the corrupt turn professional.
      Let the elected officials know how you feel. Show up at the meetings (that aren’t behind closed doors) and let them know you’re ready to throw the bums out.

      • Stopping corruption August 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

        Since there are no laws prohibiting monies, favors, etc given to elected officials, all one has to do is declare: “I am divesting … blah, blah, blah then turn around and push through the project benefitting those he “divested” from. Come on folks, use your imagination. Who would ever know. There are zillions of ways to hide the money. The only thing the people could try is to have the elected official sign an agreement that if he accepts one thin dime or throws one thin dime towards his business pals, he must pay a huge fine.
        But what elected official would ever agree to that?

      • upthecreek August 22, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

        should have thrown them out years ago.

    • Questions August 22, 2012 at 9:59 am #

      How do you know it is a bad decision?
      What we should keep spending millions on fighting this. Town lost the trial, the town lost the appeal , The CA supreme court would not even hear the case. We lost face it.
      Maybe those high priced lawyers the town hired got us a better deal.

      I would like to know what they agreed to also.
      I’d also like to know what was the turning point.

  5. Jeff B. August 21, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    I just can’t imagine how this will be good for taxpayers or town services.

  6. Jeff August 22, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    Town of Mammoth Lakes – a bunch of failed workers. I hope you all go hide under a rock!

    • Sour Grapes August 22, 2012 at 10:21 am #

      Do you by chance live in Bridgeport?

    • Burning question August 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      Why do you hate the town of Mammoth Lakes, Jeff?

  7. Fool me once! August 22, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    Unbelievable,this is all caused by the desire to fly unprofitable airlines routes into Mammoth by the few but powerful.

    MLLA subpoenas MMSA financials, miraculously the issues get settled post haste with monies that we didn’t have when the budget was passed and all the cuts were mandated. Apparently they’ve come up with the millions to keep MLLA from snooping around MMSA reported budgets, incomes and e-mails.

    How are we going to pay this greed “TAX” out of the public budget? Cuts to programs that the below average and low income citizens need, use or support. Any wonder Mammoth Lakes Housing, Eastern Sierra Transit Authority and MLTPA were on the carpet last town council meeting. They are also talking about a “Business improvement district,” or BID and a lift ticket tax to fund the financial failures caused by this White Elephant of an airport. More tax dollars in support of business interest seems to be the pattern here.

    The towns voters need to step up and take control of the politics of this town. We have become nothing more than a cash cow for the wealthy and connected. These politicians have destroyed the very reason many of us came to this town by attempting to satisfy their quenchless thirst for wealth. Council is hooked on the development paradigm as the fastest way to prosperity, refusing to except the history of the dismal failure of this business plan long term to the town.

    The arrogance of the most recent decisions by town council with or without the voters input is nauseating. We get the government we deserve and sometimes even worse. Let these folks know what you think of their decisions. Until the next election vote with “your dollars”, the only thing they really seem to care about.

    • SierraFan August 22, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      Fool me once,

      Do you read the words you write? This town exists because of business interests, wealth, etc. you speak so negatively of. The politicians here are in office because we vote for them yet you complain. Yes, there are plenty of questionable decisions that have brought us to this point but they were made by trying various avenues to avoid this big payout. I’m pretty sure the folks making these decisions weren’t thinking… “hey lets screw the people of our town”. I’d like to believe they were working for the better good and doing exactly what they thought was right at the time with the information they had.

      It’s easy to sit here and judge with the rear view mirror in front of us but take a moment and think hmmmm….could I do better? If so, maybe consider running yourself or vote your heart or wallet the next time and watch the folks you vote for make more decisions that you won’t like. We vote for these folks because we believe in them!

      And yes, this lawsuit is disturbing for those that might think I’m defending it. Like everyone else here, I’m very disappointed by it and any outcome that may cost us or our future visitors in the form of an extra tax or fee.

      As for those that think everything has to be done in a public forum, there’s this whole judicial thing that says that they can’t discuss the negotiation or outcome until a specific day / time. As hard as it is to do, we have to trust that the folks we vote into office are doing what’s in the best interest of our community.

      • Over a barrel. August 22, 2012 at 11:48 am #

        The town exists because of The Mountain. Period. The Mountain has everybody over a barrel. All Gregory has to say is, “Okay (expletive deleted), I’m shutting down The Mountain.”
        (nice work if you can get it)
        And if that were to happen – Presto! The Town will be another Bridgeport. And I really don’t think MORE FISH! is the answer.

        • SierraFan August 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

          Over a barrell,

          This would never happen unless the ski industry went south and if it did you would have The Vail company or another and operate Mammoth.

      • Fool me once! August 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm #


        I’m not interested in playing the what if game with you Sierrafan, I’m concerned with results. The current town council has failed the towns people miserably. They’ve done exactly like they’ve been told, including pissing our money into the wind over a poorly executed airport/bankruptcy legal battles. They also supported air subsidies for an airport that will fail without the continued infusion of cash to buy air service. What do you think the BID is all about? It’s a tax without a vote of the people by calling it a fee and voted on by business owners within the boundaries of the district. Only fools would reward incompetence with more taxes or “fees” without a vote or legal challenge.

        The best interest of the community would have been to let the judge make the decisions on the towns debts including MLLA. A judges decision would have given credibility to any settlement and the legal advise purchased by the town regarding bankruptcy.

        When discovery subpoenas for computer files, e-mails, phone records etc were received, some of these folks likely soiled themselves and decided a settlement was in their best interest is my theory.

        To answer your question yes I read what I write, it’s my opinion.

        I’m against the greed mentality displayed by of some of those with or without wealth.

        Yes we vote for politicians that disappoint, speaking for myself they only get one catastrophic error.We can’t afford two!

        The reason we have a town is because Mr. McCoy had a vision along with the balls of a Wooly Mammoth!

        • SierraFan August 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

          Fool me once,

          We’re not too far aft from what we believe! All I’m trying to get across is that we vote for our leaders as best we can, trust in them and their decisions (some with our voice and some with out). Would I love to be involved or have a voice in everything, probably so but this isn’t what’s available to us so we have to trust in the boundaries we have. We’re actually pretty lucky that we have the ability to speak and be heard unlike our neighbors in Los Angeles or any of the other large cities! In my opinion our folks here are doing the very best they can to minimize the impact on everyone.

          This thing from the beginning was a terrible idea “in my opinion”! Like Sierra Grl says, why build any kind of Hotel at the airport! Who the heck wants to stay their?? And yes, Mr. McCoy was a visionary and I have the most respect for what he started… more than you know but it became big business when they opened the doors whether we like to think of it or not. Big business isn’t all bad Sir, it’s what drives our economy! If it wasn’t for them, we would all be stuck trying to barter our way up so to speak! Do I like all that big business does? Not at all but it’s far better than the alternative!

          And yes, this error was significant and let’s hope that this is the only and final one! My Best to you Sir!

          • Fool me once! August 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm #


          • Big AL August 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

            Very good post Sierra fan, a good reminder, thank you.

        • Big AL August 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

          Good point Fool me.

  8. tom August 22, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    Bad news is right! Very disappointed, I and many others had higher hopes for this council to right the ship, curious of what the vote was, don’t tell me another 5-0 victory lap! As MotherNature said these guys just passed a budget weeks ago that said we were broke and forced cuts and massive layoffs and now all the sudden found more money to settle at the citizens expense , stinks of corruption and there may be some personal liability for the council.

    Why in the world after all the time and legal and staff money spent would they not take our town to the bankruptcy court for a decision? This is going to have a negative services impact on this town for years to come, no matter how our council try to spin it, disappointed!

    • Benett Kessler August 22, 2012 at 7:28 am #

      Tom, I will only point out as a matter of fact that the Bankruptcy Court Judge ordered the two sides to mediate for a settlement.

      • Fool me once! August 22, 2012 at 9:02 am #

        “Two sides”? Everybody in town knows this was a “ménage à trois”

    • Questions August 22, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      Tom Benett is correct as stated below. Chapter 9 BK is a different animal. The parties must agree on terms and amounts essentially re-negotiate. That is why the town made a plan for handling things prior to BK. Everyone knows the town is not really insolvent as many town expenditures could be considered above and beyond necessary. So for you folks out there thinking that a BK judge would wipe out the judgment in its entirety is unrealistic

      I think it is reprehensible that there will be a settlement without public input.

  9. Ed Cesnalis August 22, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    The deal remains secret from the public until it is filed with the court and then the public can be included in discussions on how the public will pay for it?

    The town council following legal advice and working in secret has not served the town well in the past. Where is the harm in public input?

  10. enoughalready August 22, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    What was the amount they settled on? Did I miss that part?

    • Benett Kessler August 22, 2012 at 7:26 am #

      The amount and terms remain confidential, as the story says, until the documents are completed.

  11. MJA August 22, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    Ballas takes the town and people of Mammoth for everything in a long fought battle.
    Details are sketchy but rumor has it the major has stepped down, the town council has been imprisoned in the tower, The village is in shambles, people are feeding OUR bears, and Ballas has made himself king.
    Long live the king!


  12. sierragrl August 22, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    I truly believe Terry Ballas and Bill Manning concocted the whole thing…not meaning from the beginning, but when they saw it going south, put the wheels in motion for a lawsuit…although who really believed they would have EVER built condos at the airport…money loser! Ballas and chums got a bail out from a losing venture at the cost of the mammoth tax payers

  13. Dollars and Sense August 22, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    What can you say?
    Gregory gets exactly what he demands and our elected officials must suck up to him in a town that depends on the tourist dollar. Sorry, Warner. That’s a fact, Jack.
    But hey, things could me worse.
    We could all be living in Bridgeport where the tourist dollar is almost non-existent.

    • Ken Warner August 22, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      Why do you hate the people of Bridgeport so much?

      • Trouble August 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

        dollar and sense- Rusty should be run out of town before he sells Mammoth out again. Mark my words, he will sell out Mammoth again. What % of the people of Mammoth and June Lake that have been laid off this year are due to Rusty?

    • just one August 22, 2012 at 11:33 am #

      And all of us here in Bridgeport roll merrily along, and we like it that way.

      • Taxpayer August 23, 2012 at 8:07 am #

        And speaking of Bridgeport …

        The population density of northern Mono County from Bridgeport to Nevada is 1,775, most of which don’t believe they should be paying any taxes.

        The population of Mammoth Lakes only (which is clearly the economic engine of the entire county) is approaching 8,000 and growing.

        I am a firm believer that the county should support its communities, but this should not come at the expense of every other person in the county.

        It seems to me that it is ludicrous for the county seat to be located in an area that simply cannot serve the majority of its citizens and a referendum of sorts is clearly in order.

        • Big AL August 23, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

          Taxpayer .. really? … The population density of northern Mono County from Bridgeport to Nevada is 1,775, most of which don’t believe they should be paying any taxes. I doubt most of them believe that, I believe the number is no greater that can be said for any other area, including Mammoth Lakes.

          You might be right in your point regarding the location of the county seat, Inyo county has the same situation. As I have stated before, it can be brought to the population center, and might better serve as the county civic center, or it might not.
          From watching all of the posts here on this site, in regard to county govt. local govt. politics, corruption, and fumbled and failed business transactions, policies and procedures. I really am not sure where the govt. civic center should be located in Mono county, or even Inyo county of that matter.

          Although, I do see that Inyo county has an edge in this area. There doesn’t seem to be so much junk going on .. I am not saying it is perfect. But then, there isn’t the amount of big money interest involved in developing resort affiliated amenities in Inyo like there is in Mono county.

    • just one August 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

      Funny, i drove through Bridgeport and all of the burger joints, and gas stations and heck the streets were crammed full on non-existant tourist. Imagine that

      • The inevitable August 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

        You’re not kidding anyone just one.
        EVERYONE is having a good summer.
        Fill us in on the situation after Labor Day.
        I’m sorry to say Bridgeport as been a huge drain on the County and the taxpayer.
        It is ludicrous to think it should be the County seat … (because it has always been) The sooner the elected officials wake up and start planning for the most obvious cost-saver – Mammoth as the County Seat, the better.
        Keep the town a satellite for the North County and prepare for the inevitable (and smarter) change.

        • Ed Cesnalis August 23, 2012 at 11:22 am #

          Aurora was the county seat before Bridgeport.

        • just one August 23, 2012 at 11:25 am #

          Absolutely in the Winter Bridgeport is just a sleepy little town. No one in Bridgeport EVER said they wanted to be Mammoth. We like the break. We don’t mind that Mammoth has the skiiers. You folks keep comparing Bridgeport to Mammoth and it is like apples to oranges. We do not want to be a big city. I only reply to folks that insult Bridgeport for being small. We like it that way. The county seat issue, personally I don’t care, but your logic is not sound. otherwise the seat would go from carson City to Las Vegas. sacramento to La. I just don’t get why certain people when commenting about an issue in Mammoth (and there are many) always throw an insult about Bridgeport in the mix like we had something to do with Mammoths problems. if you don’t believe me, which I am sure you will not, just read in this thread alone. My reply’s are just that reply’s to people who do not know anything aboutn Bridgpeot or the fine folks who live here

          • A much needed change August 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

            Bridgeport is a nice little town. But must adapt like the rest of the country. The Bridgeport Court House could be added to Bodie Historical Park as a State Memorial building and/or act as a satellite to serve the smaller communites in the north county.

            The county seat should obviously be in the town where the most people live and the largest employer in the county. Mammoth Lakes is the most logical choice for the county seat as it is the only incorporated town in the county.

            Holding county commission meetings in Bridgeport discourages people from having input in county government. And in Mammoth Lakes, the commissioners room is so small that citizens have to stand outside in the hall until space opens up.

            There is no need for any major construction of any new buildings. Mammoth already has a new courthouse and there is plenty of empty space in the empty Mammoth Lake’s Sierra Center Mall for administrative functions. If fact, some county offices are already in place.

            For the telecommute to Mammoth Lakes, public transportation via Easter Sierra Transit Authority could easily be provided.

            The one hour commute from the economic hub, Mammoth Lakes, to Bridgeport is not only costly at $4.90 per gallon, but extremely dangerous in winter, with 395 often closed due to the hazardous conditions.

            Mono County was formed in 1861 from parts of Calaveras County, Fresno County and Mariposa County. Parts of the county’s territory were given to Inyo County in 1866. Parts of the north county including Bridgeport could be given to Nevada. Since Bridgeport is Bridgeport is the tribal headquarters for the Bridgeport Paiute Indian Colony of California, a Paiute Palace similar to Bishop’s would be an economic boon to this otherwise dying town.

            Contact your county supervisor to allow the majority of the citizens of Mono County to collect the required number of signatures to file a petition to put this measure “Changing the county seat from Bridgeport to Mammoth Lakes” on a ballot. The change should be made if 60% of the votes were in favor of the proposed relocation. If none of the county supervisors has the foresight to pursue this – elect those that will.

          • Wayne Deja August 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

            just one….heading your way in a couple weeks for a 4 day fishing trip…one night at Swauger Creek….two nights at Robinson Creek…..and a day to Bodie and the last night at Buckeye Creek…BRIDGEPORT ROCKS !!!!!!!!.I’ve been going there for camping and fishing and hunting since 1972….Hope the little town never changes in my lifetime.

          • Taxpayer August 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

            No one is insulting Bridgeport nor those that choose to live there, “just one”. But in any capitalistic system, it is imperative that everyone pulls his own weight. I don’t think any community today has the luxury of depending on its government for its survival. As times get tougher and tougher everything should be examined and sometimes hard decisions must be made. There is simply no economic benefit to the majority of the citizens of Mono County to have Bridgeport be the county seat … because “it’s always been.” I would find ways to become independent from the county.
            The taxpayers of the ENTIRE county expect and deserve more.

          • Logistics August 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

            No, just one, Bridgeport is not an incorporated town. Mono County has but one incorporated city. Your comparison of Bridgeport to Las Vegas analogy is a bit shy on logic. Besides, believe it or not most of the citizens of Mono County live nowhere near Bridgeport.

  14. Dingo August 22, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    This all just stinks to high heaven!

  15. Sally August 22, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Why don’t you people who think you have all the answers run for office, get elected, work 40 hours a week trying to solve this mess – all for $300 a month, while being bashed by everyone in town over every decision they make?

    • honesty is best policy August 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

      Maybe those people are too honest, Sally.
      Side deals and development deals abound in this town and everybody knows it.
      Look for more and more closed meetings.

    • SierraFan August 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

      Well done Sally! It’s because it’s much easier to second guess others rather than put their own A.. on the line like back seat drivers. I love this town and the folks in it for the passion they have.

      • Fool me once! August 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

        Who’s south side of a northbound mule is on the line beside the employee’s that have or will lose their jobs over this settlement?

        Passion would be for the town council to give up all pay and benefits as part of the budget cuts they propose.

        I’d love to see the drivers take responsibility for this head on collision.

        NEVER HAPPEN !

  16. salblaster August 22, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    say it aint so. a settlement, really. this drama was better than who shot J.R. now the ugly reality of paying the bill. i’m guessing 60 million over 20 years. on the bright side winters comin up fast and when the snow gets epic deep i’ll be coming up and so will all the snow monkeys. long live mammoth mt.

    • Reality bites again August 23, 2012 at 8:41 am #


      Did you really think that MLLA would be wiped out!
      Really is that what you were thinking?
      If that were your thoughts on reality , then it is your type of thinking that got us in this mess in the first place.

      These things have a price face the music!
      I don’t like the situation any more than the next. It is what it is and now it may be over.

  17. salblaster August 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    reality bites, i asume your referring to my “say it aint so comment”. i was referring to the entertainment value to myself of the whole bankruptcy debacle that now seems to be over. i fully believe mlla would get paid and paid well, but that still remains to be seen until the deal is made public.


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