Legal Battle Of Park City Heavyweights Heading Into Late Rounds
Ding, ding, ding. Ladies and Gentlemen! In this corner, Talisker Land Holdings Corp. (TLH) from Toronto, Canada, weighing in at six Park City real estate developments, and the former operator of Canyons Ski Resort. And in this corner, Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR), about to celebrate its 50th year in Summit County, Utah, weighing in at 3,700 acres.
Going more rounds than Rocky Balboa, PCMR has taken yet another swing at Talisker in their nearly two-year fight over control of the land underneath the iconic resort. PCMR filed a motion July 26, 2013, to add two claims to their complaint against Talisker that began in December 2011.
Thanks to a land deal with United Park City Mines in 2003, Talisker Land Holdings LLC became PCMR’s new landlord. But, while TLH bought the upper part of the resort and has been leasing the property to PCMR, the parking lots, base, and the lower half of their mountain are owned by PCMR.
PCMR contends that even though they missed the deadline to submit a written letter of intent to renew the lease on April 30, 2011, they sent payment on the property. Talisker took the money and then waited eight months before saying anything contrary, thereby, says PCMR, creating an implied consent to the previous lease agreement’s terms.
The new claims charge that TLH and UPCM violated the leases covering Park City Mountain Resort’s ski terrain by selling a controlling interest in the leases to Vail Resorts, Inc. (VR) and possibly others, and by failing to allow PCMR to exercise a right of first refusal on the property. In other words, they claim TLH had no right negotiating with VR over Park City’s land. Ouch.
TLH swung back last week accusing PCMR of “doctoring/backdating” their letter of intent to renew their lease, thereby defrauding the court by asserting they weren’t late and the lease was valid. They want a hearing on this. Ooh.
PCMR admits to Judge Ryan Harris that the letter to renew the lease was not actually signed and mailed until May 2, 2011. That’s two days after the deadline, but they were misled and never intended to mess with the court. Aaah.
Judge Harris determined the point was moot and denied Talisker’s request for a hearing. He already had ruled in 2012 that PCMR “had an obligation to strictly comply with the leases' renewal provisions, and they failed to do so." Slam. The focus now returns to whether the lease was extended and whether Vail Resorts should even be involved.
"We're grateful that the Court remains focused on the important motion before it and will not be distracted by allegations in Talisker's correspondence,” Jenni Smith, PCMR President and General Manager told SnoCountry.com. Vail Resorts declined to answer our questions or make any comment for this article.
The court has scheduled a Sept. 18, 2013 hearing on PCMR’s motion to add the claims. Both fighters appear to have withdrawn to their corners until then.
Photo: Park City Mountain Resort (Dan Campbell Photography)