In Spanish Trail, Rage and Railing

Spanish Trail, one of Las Vegas’ most affluent gated communities, is starting to feel the pinch of the recession.

Some residents are outraged that Spanish Trail association directors have started a $4.1 million remake of the landscaping and plan to collect a $3,350 special assessment from each homeowner over the next two years to pay for it.

Some homeowners say the board should have waited until the economy was stronger and residents are more financially secure before undertaking the project.

Yet, Spanish Trail is no ordinary community. It’s residents have included former Major League Baseball pitcher Greg Maddux; former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham; Prince Jefri Bolkiah, brother of the Sultan of Brunei; and television celebrity Robin Leach. Even movie director Martin Scorsese rented a home in Spanish Trail for a time.

While some billionaire residents could pay the entire assessment from their wallet, others are retirees living on fixed incomes and some are struggling to avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure, said John Gilardi, a retired building contractor.

Alex Forgette, a retired California lawyer, said he would like to buy a new Mercedes but is driving a 4-year-old Lexus because of the hard times.

"The economic downturn has hit Spanish Trail just like it would anybody else," Forgette said.

Mike Brenesell, a marketing consultant, said he doesn’t object to needed maintenance work but he said much of the work should be delayed because many residents are dealing with financial hardships that make the assessment onerous.

"Ninety percent of the people were against this assessment at this time," he said.

Even some homeowners who can afford the assessment are upset that the landscaping project involve chopping down mature palm trees, pine trees and cottonwood trees that lined some of the streets.

"I don’t mind seeing some trees removed but not those beautiful palms," Brenesell said.

Forgette said: "They have been there for years, and we think they’re beautiful and spell Spanish Trail,"

Dr. Lane Smith, a plastic surgeon, also is unhappy with the tree removal.

"They originally told us they would make the place look like Italy. All they have done is make it look like a desert, not even a very nice desert," Smith said. "We feel like it’s damaging our property values."

Some residents are threatening lawsuits, said Spanish Trail managing director Asa Ashcraft. Xanadu SJ C Family Trust, which is apparently controlled by time-share operator Stephen Cloobeck, filed two lawsuits earlier this month in Clark County District Court against directors of two homeowners association boards and managing director Ashcraft.

Ashcraft referred a call for comment to attorney Sean Anderson, who said he could not comment until he saw the lawsuits. He didn’t respond a request for comment after being sent copies of the lawsuits.

The Spanish Trail newsletter, 89113, last spring reported that the homeowners association received a $262,000 check from the Southern Nevada Water Authority so it could remove turf to reduce the amount of water needed for irrigation.

In a lawsuit against the Spanish Trail Master Association, Xanadu complained that palm trees at the West Gate Entrance to Spanish Trail were cut down and the guard house demolished earlier this month. The palm trees previously screened the plaintiff’s house from views and noise on Tropicana.

In a second lawsuit against Estate West at Spanish Trail Associates, Xanadu said the defendants last year directed workers to cut down cottonwood trees and other 25 year-old-trees on Cascade Creek Lane where the plaintiff owns a house.

The lawsuits claim that the homeowners association boards didn’t obtain consent from homeowners in Spanish Trail. Plaintiff’s attorney Elizabeth Brennan, who also is general counsel and executive vice president of Cloobeck’s Diamond Resorts International, said she asked the master association to delay removal of any remaining palm trees so she could seek an injunction in court, but she said the work continued.

The lawsuits accuse the boards of breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud, negligence, conversion and wrongful taking of property.

Last February, a group of residents told the board about their opposition to the landscaping program.

"The room was just packed with people," Gilardi said.

Project opponents earlier this month were able to present the Spanish Trail board with a petition signed by 180 of 1,250 homeowners despite the difficulty in obtaining homeowners’ names, he said.

Gilardi said the board needs a vote of approval from homeowners before it can start a project that costs more than 5 percent of the homeowners association’s budget. However, he said the Spanish Trail board started the $4.1 million project even though it exceeds the association’s $3.9 million annual budget and homeowners were not given a chance to vote.

"There was no input from the homeowners," Gilardi said. "This was done behind closed doors."

In a letter earlier this month, however, Ashcraft gave some homeowners within 500 feet of entrances an opportunity to vote for or against proposed new entry gate structures.

Contact reporter John G. Edwards at jedwards@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0420.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes Trump tweeted his concerns about the company on Thursday. This isn't the first time Trump commented on the issues via Twitter. August 2017 December 2017 Amazon did hold back on paying state taxes in 1995, but the company has been routinely collecting state sales taxes since then. In 2016, the company's report from the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed it paid $412 million in taxes.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
eyecandylab CEO shows augmented reality during NAB
Robin Sho Moser, CEO and co-founder of eyecandylab gives an augmented reality demonstration at his booth during the National Association of Broadcaster Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Trends in access to capital for local black business owners
Denette Braud, owner of Braud’s Funnel Cake Cafe, talks about what owning her own business means to her.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Adobe unveils #HackTheBracket application for March Madness
Adobe unveiled their #HackTheBracket application at the Adobe Summit trade show at Sands Expo. People can use data from Adobe Analytics to make their bracket for March Madness. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Adidas Signs Yankees' Star Aaron Judge
Adidas Signs New York Yankees Star Aaron Judge The slugger is set to don a new set of stripes this season after signing with the apparel company. Aaron Judge Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal includes branding on his batting gloves and wristbands. Judge, the AL's reigning Rookie of the Year, was previously under contract with Under Armour since 2014. Judge won the American League Rookie of the Year award last season after setting an MLB record for most homers in a rookie season (52).
Esports athletes are sponsored, too
Meet Red Bull-sponsored professional esports player Daryl S. Lewis, better known by his in-game name Snake Eyez. Nicole Raz Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bettor Investments turned into a bad bet
Bettor Investments formerly operated a Nevada-licensed entity betting operation. The company promised “conservative growth, profits and stability for our investors.” Matt Stuart, who ran the fund, shut it down in late 2016 and never made good on an agreement with shareholders.
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design Get your thinking caps on because the company is looking for a new cup that's easier to recycle. The $10 million grant challenge sees Starbucks partnering with investor group Closed Loop Partners for the project. According to CNN Money, Aside from the new cup design challenge, Starbucks stated it will test a cup with an inner lining made from plant fibers to prevent hot liquid from leaking. Will you join the challenge for #Bettercups?
Las Vegas bartenders who worked the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival question what they were paid
Reneé Black, left, and her husband Griffin Black talk to the Review-Journal at their home in Las Vegas, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Reneé was a bartender at Route 91, and Griffin was a bar back. They were hired as independent contractors, but received forms months later indicating they were employees. They also were never paid their last day of tips. Nicole Raz/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bad-beat jackpot money will finally be awarded
People who thought they had won in Station Casinos’ “bad beat jackpot” poker promotion were unhappy. They waited months to get paid. And now the bad-beat jackpot is gone.
New developments coming to Las Vegas' Craig Road
Gina Gavan, economic and business development director for North Las Vegas, discusses new development projects on Craig Road in North Las Vegas. Art Marroquin/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Dallisa Hocking And A Grandmothers Psychic Gift
Dallisa Hocking’s new “boutique soul center” pays tribute to her late Grandma Ellie. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Can't pay the IRS? You do have options
There's a little more than five weeks until this year’s tax filing deadline of April 17. But many small business owners are wondering, “How am I going to pay my taxes?” When owners haven’t set aside enough money to cover what they owe the government, they have options. — The easiest and cheapest alternative may be to dip into personal savings. — If you have available credit, you may want to borrow from a lender or credit card. — Also, the IRS can work out an installment payment plan.
Amazon Offering Discounted Prime Memberships to Medicaid Recipients
Amazon Offering Discounted Prime Memberships to Medicaid Recipients Individuals with a valid Medicaid or Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card The $5.99 membership can be renewed every year for up to four years. The reduced Prime membership comes with the same benefits of a standard one, including free two-day shipping, Prime Video, Prime Music and Prime Now. Last year, Amazon also joined a USDA pilot program that allows those receiving government assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to buy groceries through online markets like Amazon's FreshDirect or Walmart.
Jeff Bezos New Net Worth Revealed, Still Richest Man Alive
At the end of 2017, Bezos was estimated to be worth $112 billion, earning the top spot on Forbes' world's billionaires list. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon founder's net worth is now $127 billion, which the report states is the combined wealth of 2.3 million Americans.
Dick's Sporting Goods Ends Sale of Assault Weapons Florida School Shooting
Dick's Sporting Goods Ends Sale of Assault Weapons Florida School Shooting The retailer announced the move in an open letter and an appearance by CEO Ed Stack on 'Good Morning America.' Ed Stack, (Good Morning America) Ed Stack, (Good Morning America) Dick's is also ending the sale of high-capacity magazines and sales of guns to people under 21 years old. The company ended the sale of assault weapons at Dick's-branded stores after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting in 2012. However, they were still selling them at its 35 Field & Stream locations. Nikolas Cruz, 17, shot and killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Feb. 14.
Black History Month panel gives Las Vegas entrepreneurs advice
Five people with experience in business and government spoke Friday to the Urban Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas Among their advice: line up potential clients before starting a business, attend networking events and seek advice from experts in the industry The chamber, founded in 1980, has hundreds of members and focuses on the welfare of black-owned businesses in Las Vegas
Nevada's tech talent
Nevada is 13,325 jobs short of the top 10 in-demand information technology ecosystem occupations.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like