A high-ranking executive at Park City Mountain Resort parent Powdr Corp., an important figure in the lawsuit against Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, departed in December, according to a Wednesday filing in 3rd District Court.
The filing, submitted by the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC side, did not provide details about the circumstances of the departure of Powdr Corp. Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Botter. She became the chief financial officer in August of 2008 and had worked in finance and accounting jobs for 20 years, the filing said. She was one of the figures involved as Powdr Corp. attempted to renew its lease of Talisker Land Holdings, LLC acreage underlying much of PCMR's terrain. The lawsuit centers on PCMR's lease.
The filing describes deposition testimony from Botter that "she thought the option to extend was 'automatic.'" It says Botter did not talk about her understanding with attorneys.
"Nor, apparently, did she discuss her understanding with her CEO, Mr. John Cumming, who testified that he did not think the Leases automatically renewed," it says.
Cumming is the CEO of Powdr Corp.
The Talisker Land Holdings, LLC side has spent considerable time probing the final days and hours as PCMR attempted to renew the lease before a 2011 deadline, describing what it has called a "frantic" situation.
In a statement, Powdr Corp. spokesperson Krista Parry praised Botter's work.
"Jennifer Botter made significant contributions to Powdr and we appreciate her years of service. She and Powdr agreed it was time for a change in the financial management of the company. We have a strong financial team in place and a search is underway to fill the position," the statement said.
Parry in an interview said: "Jennifer's departure did not have anything to do with the litigation."
Nobody answered a call to a telephone number listed as Botter's on Friday morning.
The filing was made in support of Talisker Land Holdings, LLC side request that the judge dismiss the remaining points from the PCMR's side's original lawsuit. The case has since been expanded. The filing does not involve the points in the expanded lawsuit.
The two sides this week released prepared statements addressing the overall case. Vail Resorts is overseeing the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC side of the case as part of its long-term agreement to operate Canyons Resort.
The Talisker Land Holdings, LLC statement: "Earlier today, Talisker filed a motion with the Court seeking a ruling on the issue at the very heart of the dispute over possession of the ski terrain at Park City Mountain Resort; based on the facts established through discovery, it is clear that PCMR was negligent in forgetting to properly renew the lease. Rather than immediately admit this oversight, PCMR instead sent a backdated letter to Talisker and then filed a lawsuit against Talisker with claims that are not even supported by PCMR's and Powdr's own executives; not a single witness named any specific action or communication by Talisker that indicated Talisker was waiving its rights under the lease. We are hopeful the Court now will dismiss PCMR's remaining claims and let stand its earlier ruling that '[PCMR] simply did not timely exercise their lease renewal option according to the plain and unambiguous language of the Leases.'"
The PCMR statement: "Park City Mountain Resort is reviewing Vail's filing for partial summary judgment. This motion to dismiss two counts brought by PCMR is part of the normal litigation process, and we will file our response and our own motions in due course. We are prepared to show that PCMR acted responsibly and in good faith and that its right to use the lands at issue has been extended. As we have said before, Vail's continued focus on PCMR's May 2011 confirmation notice is a distraction from the central legal and factual issues in the case. They include the extension of the leases and what we believe to have been Talisker's violation of the leases by transferring control of the leased lands to Vail without regard to PCMR's rights. We hope Vail will work with us to resolve this legal dispute so PCMR can continue to operate as a world-class destination and integral part of the Park City community. We are ready and willing to sit down and talk, in good faith, with Vail right now and negotiate a rational agreement."