Yakima hearing: live

This is Parker Live’s report on today’s La Paz Superior Court hearing in the Yakima / La Paz County case. See recent stories for recent history on the case.

2:02– After a delay, the proceeding continues electronically, with Judge Weiss presiding. Yakima does not appear to be ready to accept the settlement offer; Yakima’s attorney says “But we’ll look at it.”

2:06– Arguments over the original performance bond established to cover operations at the site several years ago.

2:06– Judge grants Yakima’s motion forcing the extinguishing of the performance bond.

2:09– Judge is going to wait on the motion to intervene until July 7th in Parker.

2:13– Yakima restates it’s case, claiming that the County is deficient in its duty to pay the judgment, and has not made any meaningful progress in that regard. The attorney claims the County has $20m in cash. The Supervisors claim these funds are restricted by statute or to Special Districts. Yakima says these funds and assets such as the golf course has been used for collateral for other funding before.

2:19– Yakima says there is nothing providing for payment of Yakima in the 2011/2012 fiscal budget which begins in four week’s time.

2:25– The golf course argument: it was used to procure financing before in the amount of $1.7m; if the County had failed to pay then the financer would have foreclosed and become the owner of the golf course; therefore why can’t Yakima become the owner?

2:29– Yakima says the County has not made any effort to pay, apart from today’s letter, “If you want to dignify that [the County’s settlement offer of $9.2m…] as evidence.”

2:34– “I would suspect that my client will ask why he should take a $5 million cut….” – reference to the offer of $9.2m rather than $14m.

2:36– Yakima urges the Judge to enforce the half-cent sales tax hike (without the settlement discount in place) and to force the County to provide for payment in its budget.

2:37– The County is disagreeing, saying it has enacted a piece of legislation paving the way for a solution, it has moved toward a settlement, it has sought underwriting, and a credit rating, and a forecast of future economics; in approximately 3 weeks S&P will be able to review the credit worthiness of the County in preparation for a bond.

2:42– County says it is also attempting to balance next years budget even without Yakima, and tough decisions are needing to be made about personnel needs and operations.

2:45– The offer is very reasonable, says the County. If Yakima accepts the offer, things will go much more smoothly than if Yakima proceeds with various other methods of collection, for both the County and Yakima.

2:47– County urges the judge to continue the practice of not micromanaging the process.

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Our coverage ends here. The case continues… thank you for reading.

6 comments

  1. Bonding for 9.2 Million is probably much easier than bonding for 14 million. We wouldn’t even be ABLE to bond if the Legislature didn’t pass a law just to bail us out.

    Why should Yakima take a 4.3 million dollar cut? (14 Million Minus 9.2 + the 500K they alreay got from us) This is why.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapter_9,_Title_11,_United_States_Code

    Look up Westfall Park Township in PA. When the filed Bankruptcy in 2009 because of a lawsuit, the Bankruptcy Judge lowered the amount owed in the Judgement from 20 Million to 6 Million.

    If the County can only bond 9 million, and is unable to bond 14 Million and they declare bankruptcy, Yakima could end up getting a LOT less whether they like it or not.

    I’ve been on Willett’s side for awhile, the County has handled this HORRIBLY and I’m looking forward to a new Board in 2012. But this needs to end and it is a fair offer.

    You can say “why didn’t they do this in 2004?” Its simple, Legislation wasn’t in place that allowed for the County to bond for it based on a new sales tax. The Legislation was JUST passed, so now its possible. It was not possible before.

    Willett likes to send letters and make statements saying he doesn’t want to hurt the county, and only wants to be compensated for the business the County destoryed. Time to put your money where your mouth is Jim. This is a fair offer and fair comensation (what the jury originally decided was fair.) Attorney’s have slammed you with feees, but they’ve done the same to us. We can all be angry with the lawyers who have lined thier pockets from this whole mess.

    I’ve been on Willett’s side, as have many people in this county. He was right the county was wrong. But if Yakima refuses this offer, it’ll be time to stop siding with them. Its fair compesation for the business that was lost.

  2. Just another article about why Yakima should take a 4.3 Million Dollar cut, as they’re lawyer put it.

    http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/03/02/1548057/boise-county-files-for-bankruptcy.html

    9.2 Million in the bank now is better than years of Bankruptcy litigation. You can bet that the County is preparing for this, anyone who works there knows whats going on.

  3. The County has always had the option of passing a tax to pay off Yakima. It just would have had to go to popular vote by the people. Now SB 1178 says that La Paz County Supervisors can pass the tax increases without going to a popular vote. This just takes the will of the people out of the equation ‘cuz we done be too stupid to do whats right! Least thats the way the politicians look at it. SB 1178 says the supervisors can pass a 10% sales tax increase immediately, which would increase sales tax from 7.6% to 8.36%. Then in 2013 they can increase the tax another 20%. That would increase sales tax to right around 10%! Add the 2% Town tax and that is 12%!!! That means the tax on a new $30,000 Ford at Parker Motor Company would come to $3,600!! Good-by to sales in Parker. The tax on the same Ford in Havasu would be $2,055. I would drive to Havasu to save $1,545!! I say just put out donation jars at all the local business’s and hope the good people of the County will have the heart to bail out bad goverment. Of course if the supervisors pass the bond and tax we would have to come up with a name for it. How about the Fisher, Edey, Scott Tax?

  4. http://azleg.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=13&clip_id=9293

    Go to 14:36 and see our State Senator Ron Gould stand up for our county. Too bad we don’t have anyone like this in our La Paz County Gubment.

  5. Ron Gould is a good man, at least he’s in our district!

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