(Chuck Muth) – In case you missed it, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported two weeks ago that the “city of Las Vegas lost another case in the years-long legal dispute with the would-be developer of the defunct Badlands golf course.” For background details on the dispute, click here. In short, a developer named Yohan Lowie bought the shuttered Badlands golf course years ago and intended to build an upscale housing project on the land that had always been zoned for residential housing. Then some wealthy neighbors who didn’t want to lose their golf course views – even though all their sales agreements stipulated that the golf course was not guaranteed to remain – threw a hissy fit and used political influence over the city to block Mr. Lowie from developing his land. A clear government taking without compensating the land owner for the loss of his property rights. It’s not quite the same as “eminent domain” where the government tells the property owner it’s taking his land for some government purpose – like building a road or school. Instead, what was done here is called “inverse condemnation” – a legal term that means the government hasn’t exactly “taken” the land, but put up bureaucratic and legal roadblocks to prevent the owner from using the land as it was zoned. As the Kerr Simpson law firm explains, “the owner of a property can file this type of suit when he or she believes that the government’s regulations are so intrusive that, effectively, the developer has lost all or part of his or her property and thus deserves compensation.” Mr. Lowie has filed at least four such lawsuits against the city. “Allowing the government to just take your land for the wrong reasons is something you have to fight against,” attorney Elizabeth Ghanem, who is representing Mr. Lowie, said. The case from two weeks ago is now the third straight loss in a row for the city – all before three different judges. A fourth case is still pending…but the writing’s on the wall. The city’s going to lose that one, too, because the city is clearly in the wrong. In the first case, after the judge ruled against the city, the city spent more taxpayer dollars appealing the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court. In March 2020, it lost again. The next step was to assess the damages the city – meaning us taxpayers – is on the hook for to compensate Mr. Lowie for the losses he’s sustained. In that decision last year, the court awarded Mr. Lowie $34 million – not including court costs and penalties! The losses in the other cases are likely to be even higher because they’re over bigger parcels of land. If the city goes 0-4, which is highly likely, taxpayers could be on the hook for HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of buckeroos. And that could push the city into bankruptcy. How badly would that hurt our tourism economy, not just in Las Vegas, but all of Clark County and throughout the state? The potential damage is immeasurable. “I have repeatedly pushed to settle the Badlands dispute and stop this madness,” Councilwoman Victoria Seaman wrote last month. “Now, with a third ruling against the city of Las Vegas and a third judge’s unfavorable decision, I hope that other members of the City Council come to grips with this matter and get back to the table to find a solution.” But such a proposed settlement agreement back in August collapsed, according to a report in the RJ, “because the city made last-minute changes to the proposed agreement.” It’s like the city is being represented by the law firm of Larry, Moe & Curly. It’s LONG past time to cut bait on this stinker, pull the plug and settle this debacle once and for all. As the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorialized way back in February 2020… “The only sure winners in the ongoing legal fight between the city of Las Vegas and the owner of the defunct Badlands golf course are the lawyers. … That’s why the City Council should continue to take proactive steps to reach a settlement.” But, no. Instead, the City Attorney will be asking the members of the city council at this Wednesday’s meeting for up to $2 million of taxpayer money to continue paying a bunch of outside lawyers to keep beating this dead horse.
email@example.com Councilman Brian Knudsen Ward 1 firstname.lastname@example.org Councilwoman Victoria Seaman Ward 2 email@example.com Councilwoman Olivia Diaz Ward 3 firstname.lastname@example.org Councilman Stavros Anthony Ward 4 email@example.com Councilman Cedric Crear Ward 5 firstname.lastname@example.org Councilwoman Michele Fiore Ward 6 email@example.com It’s time for the city’s elected officials to hear from the taxpayers they’re milking to perpetuate this jihad against Mr. Lowie. But remember, we’re not ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter or Battle Born Progress. Be strong, but professional. Watch your language. No personal attacks. Simply tell them you oppose throwing any more good money after bad on the Badlands and to vote “NO” on Wednesday for any additional funding for outside law firms on these lawsuits. Remember in November State and country going in the wrong direction? Remember this before casting your ballot…That’s in ADDITION to the estimated $10 million already wasted on this losing and spiteful fight. It’s insane. On Wednesday, members of the Las Vegas City Council should vote AGAINST perpetuating this lawsuit lottery that only the lawyers will win and taxpayers will have to pay for. The council should dismiss the outside lawyers and direct the city’s attorney – who’s already being paid by the taxpayers – to stop fighting this losing battle and negotiate a settlement immediately. And that settlement should include a public and heartfelt apology, not just to Mr. Lowie, but to the taxpayers of Las Vegas, as well, for wasting everybody’s time and money. If you agree, here’s how to contact the mayor and council members… Mayor Carolyn Goodman 702-229-6241
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