Canyons buys big acreage at sheriff’s sale
March 27, 2012
In a Sheriff’s Sale Tuesday, the Summit County Sheriff’s Department auctioned off more than 1,000 acres of land owned by Wolf Mountain Resort, L.C. at Canyons Resort. The winning bidder was the American Skiing Company, a subsidiary of Talisker Corp. which runs Canyons Resort. The first and only bid of $50 million from ASC ended the auction only moments after bidding was first opened to the crowded room in Third District Court at the Summit County Justice Center.
"ASC had intended to bid today," said attorney John Lund.
"Today is a culmination of six years of chasing after these guys (Wolf Mountain)," he added.
The auction followed a $54.4M judgment and six years of litigation in which ASC won a civil suit against Wolf Mountain. The case stemmed from a dispute in which ASC claimed that Wolf Mountain attempted to stall construction on a golf course. ASC argued their rights under a 200-year-long lease agreement to develop the leased property.
The Wolf Mountain-owned property was auctioned to pay off the judgment.
A swarm of onlookers stood by. Then, as the bid was accepted and the auction promptly closed, the crowd dispersed.
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Jay Hess, one local who dropped by the sale out of curiosity said the process was short and confusing.
"I was very curious to see what would happen," Hess said. "We buy local passes, and we want to know what’s happening to our resorts."
Though disputes over the judgment may be drawing to a close, the case itself is currently under appeal and working its way to the Utah Supreme Court. An attorney for Wolf Mountain has previously stated that it intends to appeal the previous decision awarding ASC the $54.4M, but the appeal process has no power to prevent the auction or execution of the sale.
Wolf Mountain stands to lose more than the original $54.5M. An Attorney’s Lien filed Monday adds another $1,112,003.30 to the claims against the company along with accrued interest on payments to ASC. In total, Summit County Attorney David Brickey estimated an additional $8M is owed to ASC and the attorneys who fought the Wolf Mountain case but never received compensation.
"Wolf Mountain has already taken all 197 volumes of this case and forwarded it all to the Utah Supreme Court in an appeal," Brickey said. "This case is still under litigation, but that hasn’t prohibited anything from happening with the sale."
If Wolf Mountain cannot match the $50M put forward by ASC in the redemption period of six months, the 53 parcels of land will be released by the county and transferred to the Talisker subsidiary.