… Just how much the Town got screwed in this airport litigation, consider this.
In 2008, the initial judgment awarded to MLLA (Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition) by a Mono County jury was $30 million.
As The Sheet reported in its April 19, 2008 issue regarding the argument over valuation of Hot Creek’s development rights [for a 310-unit hotel-condominium project], “The defense [Town] looked like it got its expert witness [Thomas Morone] from Experts ‘R Us.”
A few weeks ago, I met Ward Jones for a drink up at the Smokeyard and he confirmed Morone’s incompetence.
Jones mentioned that when he sold the three corners property (at Main and Minaret) to Goodman Real Estate back in 2006, the price was about $70 million, and came with development rights for approximately 700 units.
Which is literally the same valuation placed upon Hot Creek’s development rights, approximately $100,000/unit.
Except the properties aren’t at all comparable. “It [Hot Creek] wasn’t in the Village, wasn’t near a lift, didn’t have amenities. To get into town, you’d have to rent a car or call a cab … “ said Jones. “It’s not even close.”
Second point. MLLA and Terry Ballas approached Mammoth Mountain about purchasing their D.A. (Development Agreement) in 2006. The asking price? $20 million. Translation: They would’ve settled for $12 million or less.