“No news is good news” was definitely not what the anxious crowd at today’s hearing in Park City wanted to hear. But it’s about the only thing that anyone could say to sum up the latest in the Talisker/Vail Resorts/Park City Mountain Resort drama. After nearly four hours of back and forth, and private chamber meetings with attorneys, Judge Ryan Harris stepped back into his courtroom after lunch to announce that he wasn’t ready to make a decision.
Attorneys for both sides spent the morning making their case for a bond amount that would allow PCMR to open this season. PCMR has already threatened to take their toys and go home if the figure comes back too high. The dollar amount would encompass back rent from 2011 when PCMR failed to renew their lease as well rent for this season. Talisker is arguing for $123 million for the last three years and two future years (including damages) while PCMR said the fee should be based on fair market value; somewhere between $1-6.5 million per year.
PCMR argued that rent should be determined by what a landlord can get and not by what the tenant could potentially earn. The hearing revealed that Robert Katz has made an outright offer of $100 million for PCMR’s property but PCMR’s John Cumming called it ‘lowball’.
Neither Cumming nor Vail Resorts’ Rob Katz made it to the courtroom. Some speculate they were somewhere else continuing mediation. The talks were set to expire August 24 before the August 27 hearing but both sides requested to extend the mediation through this Friday. It makes sense that the Judge would want to wait until after mediation to rule. Perhaps the sides can come to a more amicable agreement on their own? Plus, he’s cautious about angering either side as the ultimate victim will be the Park City community should PCMR leave Talisker and Vail with nothing but a sheep pasture.
Court will reconvene September 3 at 1 p.m.