MLLA presses court for $42 million


Attorneys for MLLA and Town of Mammoth Lakes spoke via phone conference before Judge Randall in court in Mammoth Lakes.

For some, it feels like the noose has tightened on the Town of Mammoth Lakes.  Thursday, in Superior Court in Mammoth Lakes, lawyers for the Town of Mammoth and for Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition spoke via phone conference in front of Judge Randall on MLLA’s request for a writ to force the Town to immediately pay its $42 million lawsuit judgment debt. The atmosphere, according to some, was not friendly.

Those present got the feeling the Judge might issue such a writ in a hearing for March 23rd. Judge Randall is reportedly the same Judge who sat on the original jury trial regarding the Hot Creek lawsuit. He knows the story.

In court Thursday, an attorney for MLLA wanted the writ issued immediately. Town Financial Consultant Marianna Marysheva-Martinez confirmed that attorney John Higgenbotham of Best, Best & Kreiger represented the Town in Thursday’s hearing. She said that another hearing would take place later this month which would amount to a decision on the writ or a continuation of the process.

Observers said that the Town had asked Judge Randall for more time, which he did not grant, and pled bankruptcy.  Reports said Mammoth’s attorney told the court that the Town does not want to declare bankruptcy but can not pay the full $42 million.  Further reports from the hearing indicated that the Judge said the matter of the judgment had been settled over a year ago.  Some additional paperwork will be filed and the parties will go back to court in a couple of weeks.

Martinez said that separate from this court proceeding is the Town’s effort to deal with MLLA in mediation.  Asked if MLLA were willing to mediate, Martinez said she didn’t have a firm response.  Then, she did say, “My understanding is that they are open to mediation.  From our attorneys,” she said, “we get the idea that they are willing.”  No date for mediation has been set and no mediators have been selected. The MLLA attorney’s tone in court was a demanding one and not conciliatory toward Mammoth Lakes.

Asked about the next court hearing on March 23rd, Martinez said it is her understanding that the options will be that the Judge issues a writ for MLLA to collect all of its money, or that the Judge continues the matter with additional information, or that mediation will take place.

Is the Town poised for bankruptcy as some have speculated?  Martinez said she could not confirm that.  She said no emergency meetings are currently set for that topic.  She did say that all interested parties are being contacted about taking part in the mediation with MLLA, including contractors, employee unions, banks and bond holders.

Meanwhile, other reports suggest that Town officials, including Martinez, Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht and Mayor Jo Bacon have begun a process to ask all Town contractors and employee unions to take an average 10% pay cut to make up an anticipated $2 million shortfall in this year’s Town budget.  We have placed calls to Town officials to learn more about this matter.

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27 Responses to MLLA presses court for $42 million

  1. john March 13, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    I read this quote in front of a bookstore. “Giving money and power to a government is like giving a teenager a bottle of whiskey and the keys to your car.”

  2. Reality Bites March 10, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Can someone confirm that Mono County Supervisors get 20K a year plus medical, and lifetime medical if they serve two terms?

  3. Nancy Tucker Baker March 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    No, it’s not Ralph playing the Black Knight, the guy is too tall.

  4. Nancy Tucker Baker March 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    This is a response to Ken Warner and anyone else interested in town councilmember’s pay. I believe it is still $400.00 a meeting. BUT, unless this has been changed, they also get full medical, dental and overall health insurance as town employees. Several years ago one candidate told me he was running for the health insurance. He won, by the way.
    It could have been changed by now, but I doubt it.

  5. observer March 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    The untold story is that municipal bankruptcy is not like other kinds: Federal court cannot impose a resolution on the Town. What does that mean? It means the Town cannot escape secured creditors by filing. MMLA will get their money, while everyone else–– bondholders, employees, municipal retirees,–– will have their contracts unilaterally rewritten (devalued) by the Town (it can only happen in bankruptcy). What can be protected is essential services, like police, fire, snow removal, etc., but that presumably does not include a tourism budget of over $2M per year, or many other expenses the Town government considers essential for a tourist resort. It’s time Town residents catch up with the fact that unlike other cities filing for bankruptcy to resolve unfunded mandates, this one will result in the creditor (MMLA) collecting at least most of what it is owed.

    • fed up March 12, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

      That is very interesting. Observer You Refer to Secured debt. I assume that as of today the Judgement is not secured! Does the Judgement become secured with the Writ MLLA is looking to get????????

      If that is the case then it is all clear now!

      Benett you need to look into this angle!

  6. Duran March 9, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Hi, every one
    I have a question what the bankruptcy means for the people in town
    like the painter, the housekeepers, theteller at the bank,the plumber,
    the mechanic ect ect how this will Affect us.
    More taxes inflation whats the after math of this Bankrupcy?

    • Benett Kessler March 9, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      We don’t know yet but will continue to press for details. BK

  7. andrew March 9, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    Its a sad day on the mountain, you can’t trust anyone involved, they are all borderline crooks.

  8. Dave March 8, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Hey upthecreek I have a new one for you – LGW.

    Lawyers gone wild.

    • upthecreek March 8, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

      @ Dave

      Here you Loud and clear.

      One day the people of Mammoth Lakes will wake up , figure out what their government has done to them. AND DEMAND JUSTICE.

      Until then more of the same


      • Ken Warner March 9, 2012 at 9:26 am #

        All your rabid rants do have some (small) truth to them and this one is the most true of all. It’s the constituency who put them there through apathy and ignorance. It’s called blow back….

  9. truthbtold March 8, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Mayor Bacon, along with asking the employees and contractors once again to pony up at the plate and save the Council’s rear end, how about you and your fellow Councilmembers give up your “taxpayer paid” health, vision, and dental insurance packages? Between the five of you there is no doubt all afford to pay out of your own pocket for your own benefits. If you add up the total annual cost for the five of you, I figure the total cost is just north of six figures. After you contribute to the current year deficit, then take the on-going taxpayer savings and utilize towards the $42 million debt to MLLA. What gives you and your fellow Council Members the right and privilege to have taxpayers pay for your benefits?

    • Ken Warner March 9, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      I don’t know for sure but I think that City Council members here in Mammoth get only $400.00 per meeting.

      I asked about that once and that was the answer I got. Could be wrong.

      • truthbtold March 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

        They make $300 per meeting twice a month for a total of $600 montly stipend PLUS the full tax payer funded health, vision, and dental package. It is hypocritical for them to ask hard working employees while they get this nice little perk. What a great show of political leadership.

      • Tom March 9, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

        $300 per month there are 2 meetings per month which equates to $150 per meeting

        • truthbtold March 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

          $300 per meeting; meeetings happen the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month; 2 meetings per month x $300 = $600 per month.

          • upthecreek March 12, 2012 at 9:54 am #

            300 dollars per meeting is Too Much.

            Give then $ 6 gas allowance per Month . then they would be a true “public Servant”


  10. Reality Bites March 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    I vote for vindictive.

  11. johndoeml March 8, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    I think MLLA is stressed right now. They probably anticipated a healthier town budget and a lucrative settlement of 70-80 percent to be paid out over 20-30 years. Then the drought came along with decreased TOT and a TOML shortfall. In the meantime, CA cities have shown bankruptcy to be viable. Now MLLA is trying to tighten the screws and up the pressure. But it’s over. TOML doesn’t have money and won’t be able to pay all that much after the inevitable bankruptcy. In the end, MLLA will be lucky to get 20 percent.

    • Big AL March 9, 2012 at 12:50 am #

      Yep they wont be able to fill up their money bags, and I hope they don’t.

    • Fed Up March 9, 2012 at 10:22 am #

      The real issue is Does the Writ of Mandate provide any advantage to MLLA. This is the real question. Does this secure the Judgement thus giving MLLA the ability to collect at or near the full amount. Whereas a regular creditor with an unsecured amount stands at the rear of the collection line getting pennies on the dollar. The city of Vallejo paid on 5 pennies on the dollar to their unsecured debts.

      We need answers on that!

  12. Tourbillon March 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    MLLA is not dumb – don’t we know – so they know Mammoth can’t possibly pay if they get their writ, perhaps to be issued on toilet paper to ensure they get something useful out of the deal. Maybe Chapter 9 bankruptcy gives creditors an unusually good break compared to other types of BK and they’re counting on that. Or maybe I’m just wrong in assuming that MLLA is acting in their financial best interest and is not simply being gratuitously vindictive.

    • Fed Up March 9, 2012 at 10:17 am #

      I think the Town needs to assess the real elephant in the room! The town does not seem to file for bankruptcy! MLLA wants this writ issued! If the writ is ordered the Town claims it will need to file BK. The town needs to start paying the Judgement!

      So What does all this really mean?
      Is there an advantage to MLLA if the Writ is ordered/ filed prior to the Town filing for Bankruptcy?

      Is there an advantage to the Town if it files Bankruptcy first?

      These questions need to be answered for the public!!!!!!!!!

  13. Ken Warner March 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    Remember this? Say no more nudge nudge wink wink….

    • Big AL March 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

      LOL Ken

    • upthecreek March 8, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

      Is that Raplh McMullen playing the black knight?


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