Griswold quickly strikes back | ParkRecord.com

Griswold quickly strikes back

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

After being sued Monday, Wolf Mountain Resorts Managing Partner Kenny Griswold fired right back at Parkites Mark Robbins and Paul Benson.

Griswold is accused of backing out of an agreement to sell land he owns at The Canyons resort to the firm Peninsula Advisors.

But it’s Peninsula Advisors principal Mark Robbins who breached the contract, Griswold countered in a lawsuit filed against the company July 24 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The owner of The Canyons, American Skiing Company, currently leases Griswold’s land to operate the resort, but ASC is going out of business. The board of directors at the publicly traded company recently authorized the sale of The Canyons to Talisker Corp., the firm that is developing Empire Pass.

Griswold, however, who has disagreed with American Skiing Co. officials in the past, must provide his consent in writing before any sale of The Canyons can occur, according to Wolf Mountain’s lease with ASC.

He told The Park Record any closing of a sale at the resort is far off.

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Wolf Mountain currently is entwined in bitter legal wrangling with American Skiing Co. stemming from Griswold’s attempt to terminate ASC’s lease.

ASC officials say, by purchasing the resort, Talisker would take over the legal battle against Griswold.

"What happens if they were to lose their lawsuit with Wolf Mountain?" Griswold asked, adding that when he wins the case he expects to end the lease regardless of who owns the resort. "That whole lease could be terminated tomorrow."

Griswold’s lawsuit against Peninsula claims the firm is made up of "not reputable business people [who] did not have sufficient funds to purchase [Wolf Mountain’s] real estate or to fund the new entity."

Peninsula Advisors’ lawsuit against Wolf Mountain claims as part of the transaction Griswold agreed to form a new company called The Canyons — Real Estate, LLC, in which Griswold would hold a 20 percent minority interest.

"Peninsula also agreed to pay half of [Wolf Mountain’s] attorneys’ fees incurred in litigation with a third party relating to the resort," according to Wolf Mountain’s complaint. "Peninsula failed to consummate the transaction and has failed to pay half of [Wolf Mountain’s] attorneys’ fees."

The five-page complaint names as defendants Peninsula Advisors, LLC, Robbins, Benson, Edward Davies, Stephen Norris, Stewart Paperin, Jeff Jones and the Salt Lake City law firm of Durham, Jones and Pinegar.

Griswold seeks more than $5 million in damages in the case that claims the defendants committed fraud when they falsely misrepresented to Wolf Mountain that they were able to pay $115 million for about 2,000 acres at The Canyons.

"Defendants concealed that they did not have sufficient funds to purchase the real estate and form and fund the new entity," the lawsuit against Peninsula Advisors states.

Agreeing to sell his property to Peninsula meant Griswold refused offers from other buyers interested in purchasing ski terrain at The Canyons, the complaint adds.

But a spokesman for Peninsula Advisors said, should officials at the firm take control of the resort land, they’re eager to work with Talisker to resolve the disputes.

Benson said he couldn’t comment when reached Friday.

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