Officials urge public attendance and admit bankruptcy may be close


Mammoth Lakes Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht

In the Town of Mammoth Lakes, it’s a broken record – nothing new with MLLA, the holders of the ominous $43 million debt owed by the Town.  What officials say they do know is that inability to pay off that debt by June 30th will lead to a fiscal emergency and bankruptcy unless settlement comes first. Tuesday night at a special meeting two of the Town’s experts, officials will discuss the major budget issues and the MLLA judgment.

Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht said that at Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at 6pm in Suite Z, Attorney Zack Clement and retired judge Bill Greendyke, both of the law firm of Fullbright and Jaworski, will talk to the public and the Council about their credentials and will answer questions from the public, according to Wilbrecht. He said they would not speak to specifics about the dispute with MLLA since that is still in progress.

The Town Manager said officials are encouraging members of the public to come and ask questions.  Mammoth citizens have asked Sierra Wave Media what will happen if the Town does not pay $43 million by June 30th, as demanded in an issued court writ.  Manager Wilbrecht said the attorneys will speak to that Tuesday.  Pressed for his understanding of the consequences, Wilbrecht said, “If we get to the end of mediation and haven’t resolved the problem and the Writ of Mandate is due, there’s no way the Town can pay it.  We would then be in a fiscal emergency,” he said.  “The Town Council would have to make decisions at that point.  I don’t know the exact steps toward bankruptcy,” said Wilbrecht, “but this is in our minds.”

Wilbrecht added that Town officials will start official mediation with creditors on Thursday. This includes contractors and employees but not MLLA. The special meeting of the Mammoth Lakes Town Council starts at 6pm Tuesday in Suite Z.  Tourism Director John Urdi will make a presentation regarding the impact of tourism on Mammoth Lakes and presumably argue for continued marketing in the face of the Town’s financial crisis.

Immediately after Urdi’s discussion, the Council will go into talks about the long-term fiscal projections and a restructuring plan to address what officials describe as the “baselines fiscal issues and the MLLA judgment.”

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14 Responses to Officials urge public attendance and admit bankruptcy may be close

  1. What the ...? May 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Why is John Eastman still on the town council?

  2. upthecreek May 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    the town manager needs a raise..
    poor guy is working toooooo hard


  3. Trouble May 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Time is almost up, time to make your last move Mammoth.

  4. MJA May 7, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    Rather than bankruptcy I think Mammoth should sue Terry Ballas for 86 million for those terribly ugly eye sore hangers that he built to close to the runway thus screwing up the 395 view and any future large airline business. And after he pays the town Mammoth can afford to tear his buildings down and pay him what he deserves.


    • Huh? May 8, 2012 at 11:41 am #

      MJA, You mean the hangars that are built right where the FAA and the Town approved them to be built? You want the Town to sue over those hangars?

      • MJA May 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

        The hangers Mr. Ballas built, The airport manager/developer who built hangers to close to the runway and testified he didn’t know the FAA had building regulation around an airport and is now waiting to get 43 million dollars from the the people of Mammoth. Ya that guy.
        I don’t think the town should pay him anything,
        I think it was a set up.
        Give him the airport and change the name to Ballas airport,
        Its got a nice ring to it.


        • Benett Kessler May 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

          Just a note. Mr. Ballas apparently sold the $30 million judgment to MLLA. Ballas himself still holds some development rights at the airport – for commercial/ retail and a terminal. BK

  5. Tourbillon May 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    “I don’t know the exact steps toward bankruptcy,” said Wilbrecht, “but this is in our minds.”

    You’re kidding, right? You are getting paid six figures to be our town manager, you have a June 30 deadline that if not met will lead to BK – and you really, truly don’t know the “exact steps” yet? Mr. Wilbrecht, with due respect, do not quit your government job.

    • Just the facts May 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      I’m afraid Tourbillon believes bankruptcy is a simple black-and-white process. Unfortunately there is lots of that going around today.

      Chapter 7 frequently referred to as “liquidation” or “straight bankruptcy,” is the fasted and most common form of bankruptcy in the United States. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a debtor’s non-exempt assets, if any, are sold (liquidated) by the interim trustee and distributed among creditors. The value of property that can be claimed as exempt varies according to state bankruptcy law. Eligibility to file Chapter 7 is determined by the means test instituted with the 2005 amendments to the bankruptcy code.

      Chapter 13 involves the reorganization of a person’s debts in order to repay his or her creditors. Unlike Chapter 7, which provides for more immediate and complete relief of a person’s debt, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing requires the individual to pay back his debts over a 3- to 5-year period. Under the terms of Chapter 13, your unsecured debts (credit cards, loans, etc.) are combined into one category and a payment plan is developed based on income and acceptable expenses.

      There are both advantages and disadvantages to filing either Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Before deciding on either option, it is best to enlist the help of a legal adviser to review your alternatives and obligations. By properly evaluating the pros and cons of both types of bankruptcy and basing your decision on your current situation, you will be better prepared to decide which bankruptcy route to go with.

      To my knowledge, Mr. Wilbrecht is not a bankruptcy attorney and there appears to be some obvious and customary posturing occuring in such a complicated situation as this one.

      Why not try grinding your axe towards those who are responsible for the mess. It seems to me Mr. Wilbrecht was nowhere around when decisions were going down and has merely inherited the situation and appears to be handling what he inherited appropriately.

      • sierragrl May 9, 2012 at 9:19 am #

        I’m no expert, but here’s some basic info from the web: A Chapter 9 bankruptcy is the type of bankruptcy for municipalities. Chapter 9 is a form of reorganization, not liquidation. In California, Orange County, the Cities of Vallejo, Los Osos, and Desert Hot Springs have filed chapter 9 bankruptcy. I would hope our leaders look to those past examples to see what the outcomes of those filings were in hopes of making some good decisions here.

        I’ll say it again, I don’t question the ruling that Mammoth lost on, but I do question the damage award. How in the world could a developer be awarded 30+ million for a development that likely would’ve lost money! Really, who would want to own a condo at the airport? And the recession would’ve hit before they got it done. I’ve never seen a breakdown of how that award was calculated. That would be nice to see.

  6. cat May 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Let us poll a vote of confidence in our leadership. Vote NO if you have NO CONFIDENCE in our leadership. Vote YES if you still have confidence in our leadership.

    • What the ...? May 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      I have confidence in the At-will government employees.
      I have no confidence in elected officials who can cash in personally on developers projects (and nobody can stop this graft as it is perfectly legal).
      There is one official in particular who has been around forever and has his fingers in many, many pies.

      • Problem Solved May 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

        You have confidence in the Town Manager that states ” I don’t know the exact steps towards bankrupcy” after knowing we we’re going bankrupt for the last 3 years !!!!

        I’m glad you do.

        • P&B May 9, 2012 at 6:29 am #

          Wilbrecht has demonstrated no leadership or expertise on this issue since his employ – true to his management style he placed 3M in front of him to take the major hit and aford him deniability.


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