Town, MLT send conflicting messages regarding Wood Site
It appears the left hand does not know what the heck the right hand is up to?
On Friday, October 5, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, via its attorney Tim Sanford, sent a letter to Kathy and Shields Richardson, listing agents for Sam’s Wood Site.
Parcel owner Dirk Winter announced recently that he’s abandoned plans to retain the site as an events venue and now wishes to sell – for $2 million more than he bought the land for 18 months ago.
Sanford’s letter to the Richardson could be interpreted as a warning shot: he believes that as part of the agreement reached between MLT and Winter (when MLT loaned Winter $300,000 as an enticement to do the deal), Winter, and whomever follows as successor owners, must maintain the property as an events venue for ten years.
Sanford writes in a letter dated October 5: “As you may know, on April 5, 2017 your client entered into an agreement with MLT and the Town of Mammoth Lakes under which, among other things, your client promised to allow the use of the Property as a public events venue, and to construct improvements on the Property to further that use.
Section VI (H) of the agreement provides that the agreement shall be binding upon the successors and assigns of the parties. As a result, the commitments made in the agreement are binding on, and would have to be carried out by, any buyers of the property.
MLT wants to insure [sic] that you are aware of this agreement and its binding effect on any buyer, in order to assist you in carrying out your duty of disclosure to prospective buyers.”your duty of disclosure to prospective buyers.”
On Monday evening, October 8, Winter wrote back to Mammoth’s Town Manager Dan Holler, in which he lobbed back a few thinly-veiled threats of his own.
“… As you know we were not able to get permitted our Winter Christmas event in a timely manner that would have allowed us to produce our proposed event. I have decided I need to sell this property. In order to allow Sean Turner to produce the Bluesa event in 2019 I have been working up a contract that would allow the scheduled events for 2019 to proceed. With knowledge of the letter sent to Shields I have put all events for next year on hold.
I am not sure what is not clear with our Property Use Agreement with the Town and MLT. In section II.B.3 it clearly states that if WML (Winter) abandons the site or refuses to allow puboic events pursuant to the terms of this Agreement, the full Fund, together with interest at the statutory rate, shall be repaid … This is what I propose to do … I want to make sure that the Town realizes how damaging it would be to me if the Town interferes with my ability to sell the property.
I also do not understand your public comments that I am difficult to reach. While I assume you had or have some reason for that statement, you know that is demonstrably untrue. Following are all my contact numbers. Please feel free to use them.”
Holler sent a reply letter to Winter approximately two hours later, at 8:35 p.m.
“Dirk – sorry for the confusion. The letter was sent from MLT’s attorney with no consultation with the Town. I read the agreement same as you. I’ve not had a hard time getting ahold of you.
In speaking with some folks who asked me, I’ve suggested that they not get worked up as I believed that the repayment to MLT would happen based on the timelines in the agreement and that it looked like Bluesa was going forward for at least next year.
I’ve been asked by a couple of Council members on whether or not the Town should consider a purchase (or partner with MLT). Given the proposed price $5.9M, this is not viable for the Town. The other option was to work with you and the owners on taking over the note and obligations with some additional amount. But again, this would be difficult for the Town.
… At least one group has reached out to me on the site and I gave them the same read on the agreement as you noted …”
The Sheet asked Holler what the heck is going on – why are two town entities which should be on the same page delivering such different messages in terms of tone and content?
Holler said there was a discussion after the fact, and MLT feels it is important that the existing agreement is fully disclosed.
As far as the Town is concerned, Holler said the Wood Site has been agendized as a closed session item for the next Town Council meeting (Oct. 17).
Holler also noted that there is a broader question regarding the Wood Site, and that is the adjacent “Oetiker” parcel owned by the Oetiker family.
To put on a Bluesapalooza-scaled event, an event producer must have use of both the Wood Site and Oetiker parcel.