Mammoth Town Councilman Michael Raimondo wants to see the Town buy Sam’s Wood Site to make sure it remains an events venue for years to come. The Council talked about a possible purchase in a closed session on property negotiations Wednesday night. That session prompted questions from the public on a for sale sign with Matthew Lehman’s name on it at the Wood Site.
Lehman confirmed that he does have and has had for several years a For Sale sign on the Wood Site. Lehman said that in addition to being an appraiser he is also a real estate broker. He said, “Although I work heavily in residential real estate, my primary area of expertise has been commercial real estate for some time.”
Councilman Lehman explained that he will not benefit on any sale of the Wood Site by his seat on the Town Council. He said, “To be clear, I’ve not and won’t act in the capacity of a Town Council person with regard to the Wood Site. When the idea of discussing the Wood Site came up in open session a few weeks ago,” said Lehman, “I made sure to have immediate discussions with the Town Attorney on how to best approach the situation.”
Lehman explained further. He said, “I will not be discussing the Wood Site as an advocate for or against its purchase, nor will I be voting on anything related to this property should the need for a vote arise. I will be recusing myself from any meetings regarding the Wood Site. In the event the Town were to purchase the property, I would not be able to receive compensation,” he said.
Lehman called this “a unique situation, but not completely uncommon in a small town.”
Professional reputation. Can’t represent the seller efficiently if town still interested, and in small town can’t escape insinuation of conflict even if there is none. And the seller is still let down. Hard situation. Maybe he knows how to handle it better than us.
If I were Lehman, I’d just quit. He’s out in June anyway and it’s a thankless job. Sell Woodsite to whoever he pleases, get the commission and go back to making money for himself instead of donating countless hours when the Wood, Eastman and Bacon show call the shots.
I’d quit AND give up the listing.
Shine, why? He’s had it for a long time and spent a lot of money marketing it.
Now let’s write a little more abstractly. None of this happened in this town. It’s a fictional story of some other town that really really wanted a piece of property, but tainted their ability to ever bid on it because they let a “spy” into the closed session. Good thing… Read more »
andy, possible transactions have to be secret because they’re discussing what the real estate might be worth to the town. If they did it in public, the seller would attend the public meeting and gain an unfair advantage in negotiations. So once they decide the worth in closed session, they… Read more »
After reading this I was reminded of a scene in the “Movie Young Guns II” where the charactor “Tom O’Folliard” (played by Balthazar Getty) asks ‘William H. Bonney’ (played by Emilio Esteves) “What’s scum?” William H. Bonney responds by saying “Well Tom, that’s bad types. Politicians, bankers, cattle-kings… Scum…” I… Read more »
Good movie, but not so much fun in the reality of life in Mammoth Lakes
Why does everthing got to be a secret with the town conucil, apparently they feel that they are superior and wiser than the citizens of Mammoth, or they are hiding something.
Andy, that’s their transparency.
What We the People don’t know – won’t hurt us, is what this game is about. Bennett asks “Who is your attorney?” (on this matter). Unfortunately, the Town is banking (as it always does) on the continued apathy of its constituents and as per usual, the powers that be get… Read more »
Apologies in advance, as this info. may be a bit off subject, but it may be of interest to discover what is happening in your local government. Google the website below and what do you find? http://www.municipalinsider.com/jobs-center/ I find it highly interesting that the vast majority of municipal jobs available… Read more »
For Pete’s sake folks, we should be thrilled that an investor hasn’t seen the value in this great parcel and built a house on it just so we all could say what should’ve been every time we drive by it during our many events. If there’s anything that’s been proven… Read more »
You got the listing! Congratulations!
Whoa! 14 thumbs down! If this indicates a barometer of sorts on this subject, I say to continue to intensively investigate as to whether or not any harm has been done (or is about to be done) in the form of conflict of interest. This forum may be the only… Read more »
If the parcel has been listed for several years, and Lehman is a competent broker, odds are that it is not currently of value equal to asking price. A large amount of true value is linked to financial health of TOML. The fact that TOML is considering spending money to… Read more »
Sell the property to the Hilton sisters and let them build a 5 story city block sized hotel on the site. It would fit right in =)
I wonder if the town could exercise eminent domain on that site? It’s clearly in the best interest of the town to continue to use it as it has been used.
Eminent domain is not free. The town would still have to pay fair market value for the property. Better to make a deal for the property then to take the property from a unwilling party. The greater concerns to some here in town would be . If the property was… Read more »
Expropriation under eminent domain requires just compensation and is unneeded if seller is willing. “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Amendment V, US Constitution Even as much as this right of the people’s government is abused, I still don’t think providing a place to… Read more »
From the State of California Conflict of Interest Manual (page 13) http://ag.ca.gov/publications/coi.pdf 2.Interests in real propertyAn official has an “interest in real property” when the official, or his or her spouse ordependent children have a direct or indirect equity, option, or leasehold interest of $2,000 ormore in a parcel of… Read more »
B. The Basic Prohibition Under the Act, public officials are disqualified from participating in government decisions in which they have a financial interest. The Act does not prevent officials from owning or acquiring financial interests that conflict with their official duties, nor does the mere possession of such interests require… Read more »
Definition of Sleazeballs; “Sorry, I am too broke to pay you, but since you are such a good employee we will let you set up a tent for your family at Wood Site as long as you don’t steal from the trash to feed yourself.”
Seems the best thing to do is sell it to a developer and let more poorly constructed and over-priced condos and tourist traps be built there. Doesn’t Mammoth need the money to bail themselves out of a $40 million lawsuit?
The wood site is currently owned by a private party. The discussions are about the town possibly buying it, not selling it.
I thought is was over $50 million lawsuit…where they able to pay off $10 million??? If so, how? The town hasn’t seen any decent snow in years and the tourists from Southern California seem pretty fed up with Mammoth Lakes.
The judgment was $30 million and shot up to $42 million with interest over the years. They negotiated a pay-off of $30 million at $2.5 million per year, roughly.
The total payout is $52mil inclusive of interest actually. $2mil was down-paid, with 20 subsequent annual payments at $2.5mil per year. And don’t forget the additional $4.5mil paid to the BK attorneys for 5 months of work “faking” a bankruptcy. Impossible to imagine a worse-handled scenario, from start to finish.… Read more »
At this point councilmember Lehman cannot even hand the sale to another real estate agent because it would look very much like the councilmember was giving the next agent a sure fire commission from the sale and thus smell of doing someone a favor. This could become radioactive in a… Read more »
Oh, what a tangled web we weave …
If the town buys this property. They will be spending money they will NEVER have.
SPEND < SPEND< SPEND
TAX TAX TAX
Agree with Desert Tortoise. I’m willing to grant that Lehman’s intentions are good. If Lehman relinquished his “interest” in the sale prior to the start of negotiations (even informal discussions), then 1090 might not apply. However, the timing is crucial. Did Lehman relinquish the listing prior to discussions of a… Read more »
My understanding is Lehman does not have to give up the listing. He has agreed not to take part in discussions or votes on the Wood Site and will not
take a commission if the Town buys it. End of story.
Bankruptcy court may have to decide end of spending money TOML does not have story.
Maybe you should interview some out of town attorneys before declaring end of conflict story.
Thank you, Shine.
Since when are we supposed to take an elected officials’ statement: Neither I nor any associates of mine are not getting one thin
dime if the town purchases Sam’s Wood Site, as gospel, especially in these volatile economic times?
Shine, we’re not bankrupt. We filed but managed to settle before going down that route. And there is Measure U money they could use to purchase the land as opposed to coming out of our general fund.
TOML is deeply in debt. I prefer “enhance existing or current efforts.” part of U. Maintaining and operating what is already in place is more prudent if my household is in debt.
The wording of 1090 does not support that argument. None of Mr. Lehman’s fellow council members may legally discuss a sale of that property as long as it is Mr. Lehman’s listing. Mr. Lehman recusing himself is not sufficient.
At this time, I think We the People are entitled to hear another lawyers point of view or argument regarding whether or not Lehman is involved in any conflict of interest case.
We the People’s attorney vs the Town of Mammoth’s attorney would suffice.
Who is your attorney?
There is another site that has already gotten much attention and already used for events, concerts, etc. It is on the campus of Cerro Coso Community College and successfully run by the Mammoth Lakes Foundation. I would love to hear how the Sam’s Wood Site was presented to the Town… Read more »