PCMR, fighting for the survival of resort, sues Talisker
March 9, 2012
Park City Mountain Resort on Friday filed a lawsuit against a firm under the Talisker umbrella, claiming that the resort must stop Talisker Land Holdings, LLC from interfering with PCMR or trying to shut it down.
Canadian-based Talisker in the last decade took ownership of vast land holdings in the Park City area that once were under the control of United Park City Mines. PCMR operates on some of that land. United Park City Mines is also named as a defendant in the case.
In a prepared statement released on Friday, PCMR indicated Talisker Land Holdings, LLC on Dec. 27 told the resort that its right to use the land had expired. The firm said PCMR needed to vacate or negotiate another agreement to use the land, the prepared statement said. The lease dates to 1971, resort officials said.
The late-2011 move by Talisker Land Holdings, LLC followed three years of negotiations between the two sides, according to the resort. Those talks involved topics like property deals, business opportunities and investment in infrastructure, the statement said, indicating that some of the talks were focused on one day connecting PCMR and Canyons with a lift.
PCMR, defending its position, says it paid the annual fee to Talisker Land Holdings, LLC for use of the land and made $7 million in improvements.
Talisker Land Holdings, LLC owns the land on which PCMR’s slopes exist. The resort owns other land, including at the base area and the parking lots. The resort also controls water rights and the infrastructure.
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"If we do not prevail . . . Park City Mountain Resort could be forced to close," Jenni Smith, the president and general manager of PCMR, told reporters Friday afternoon.
In a statement posted on a PCMR website created to outline the lawsuit, the resort said it "can’t say for certain" whether the resort will open for the next ski season. It says it hopes the case is resolved soon and plans are being made for the next ski season.
The resort said in the online statement that it confirmed an extension to use the land and paid rent last April. In December, Talisker Land Holdings, LLC told the resort "its right to use the land had expired and that new terms would be required," according to the website.
The lawsuit was filed in state court. Smith was not sure whether Talisker Land Holdings, LLC had been served with the lawsuit by Friday afternoon. A spokesman for Talisker Mountain Incorporated, Steve Pastorino, declined to comment Friday afternoon, saying the firm would not discuss matters involving litigation.
The statement on the website said the resort is unsure what Talisker Land Holdings, LLC "has to gain by forcing this stalemate."
Smith said PCMR would operate as usual through the rest of the current ski season and through the coming summer season. In the prepared statement PCMR vowed to "fight as long as it takes to keep Park City Mountain Resort locally owned and locally operated."
PCMR sees the case as an attempt to "protect the future" of the resort and its 1,200-plus employees.
The website outlining PCMR’s side is: http://www.supportpcmr.com .
The Park Record received this response response from Talisker after presstime:
"PCMR’s lease of Talisker’s land expired in 2011. Talisker has offered PCMR new lease terms, and the parties have been in discussions regarding such new lease terms, which are subject to an agreement of confidentiality.
We had hoped to reach terms on the new lease that would be fair to both parties. Unfortunately it appears that PCMR is attempting to use litigation to better its position, and avoid reaching a mutually fair outcome.
At no time in these negotiations has Talisker contemplated or threatened to close Park City Mountain. We believed the negotiations were continuing and we are disappointed by PCMR’s action today."