Wolf lawsuit dismissed in California
December 7, 2007
The newest installment to The Canyons legal saga saw a lawsuit filed by Wolf Mountain Resorts Managing Partner Kenny Griswold dismissed by a superior court judge in California, attorneys litigating against Wolf Mountain said about a ruling issued Tuesday.
The Canyons operates near Park City on land Griswold leases to the resort. Griswold is trying to prevent the parent company to The Canyons, American Skiing Company, from selling its stock in the resort to the Talisker development firm.
But Griswold agreed to sell property he owns at The Canyons to the Peninsula Advisors investment firm last year, lawyers for Peninsula Advisors claim.
Peninsula principal Mark Robbins, a Park City resident, then planned to fuse "ski operations and the underlying real estate" at The Canyons into one, said Jeff Jones, an attorney for Peninsula Advisors.
In a lawsuit filed against Wolf Mountain in July, Peninsula Advisors asks Third District Court Judge Bruce Lubeck to require Griswold abide by an alleged agreement to sell his land to Robbins.
"Peninsula’s view is that [Griswold] did not proceed in compliance with the agreements that he entered into. That’s what led to the filing of the lawsuit in Summit County because he simply refused to close on the sale of his property," Jones said. "Peninsula wants to close on Wolf’s land."
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Griswold countered that Peninsula Advisors lacked the financial wherewithal to purchase the land and violated the contract when Robbins negotiated with Talisker to partner to purchase The Canyons.
"Peninsula Advisors did not have the money nor could they perform on the requirements of the purported [agreement,]" Griswold said.
Griswold claims Robbins and Talisker committed fraud by negotiating behind his back and said he will file the lawsuit in Utah that was dismissed this week in California.
"Our lawsuit against Peninsula and its individual members for fraud is moving into the Utah courts," Griswold said in a telephone interview.
But lawyers for Peninsula Advisors countered that Griswold violated the agreement when he did not attend a closing on his land scheduled in July.
Meanwhile, a judge trying to consolidate a flurry of legal claims at The Canyons has allowed Colorado-based Vail Resorts, Inc. to become involved in the lawsuit Peninsula filed against Wolf Mountain.
Vail, Peninsula Advisors and Griswold reportedly agreed to form a joint venture to purchase The Canyons, and Vail would own 50 percent of the resort.
But Robbins breached that agreement when he negotiated with Talisker to purchase the resort, the ruling from Lubeck that allowed Vail to join the Park City lawsuit acknowledged.
Officials at Peninsula Advisors claim they agreed to purchase about 2,000 acres Griswold owns at The Canyons.
"The entirety of the conduct of the parties should be subject to one jurisdiction and one judgment, realizing judicial economy and reducing the chance of inconsistent judgments or duplicitous liabilities," states Lubeck’s ruling that granted Vail’s motion to intervene in the case.
A notice Vail filed at the Summit County Recorder’s Office on Griswold’s property Nov. 2, means people examining titles at The Canyons know there is a court dispute about who should own the land.