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Investment consultant wins right to seek payment for role in new City Hall

An investment consultant who played a key role in the deal that led to the new Las Vegas City Hall won a chance from the Nevada Supreme Court to claim payment for his work.

The court ruled Thursday and posted its decision to its website Monday.

In its ruling, the court said that even though the transaction wound up being a real estate purchase and West Palm Beach, Fla., consultant Russell L. “Rusty” Nype did not have a Nevada real estate license, he could be compensated for at least some of his efforts.

In doing so, the court overturned a decision against Nype two years ago by Clark County District Judge Ron Israel that Nype’s lack of a license left him out of luck.

The case will now return to district court for a potential trial.

“At a minimum, the district court must consider whether all of Nype’s actions, for which he now claims compensation, were in the scope (of Nevada real estate law) or whether some or all of his actions fell outside the scope of that statute,” the court wrote.

Beau Sterling, the attorney for Las Vegas Land Partners, with which Nype worked, estimated that a 4 percent commission would earn him $3.3 million. Nype attorney Daniel Polsenberg has never given a number.

Las Vegas Land Partners, owned by two New York developers, bought five blocks downtown in 2005 for what was originally envisioned as a mixed-use project. However, they did not have the cash to move forward.

They brought in Nype the next year to find outside investors; he connected with Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises.

Although Forest City initially was reluctant to infuse capital, Nype said his persistent salesmanship ultimately brought the company around. But instead of purchasing a piece of a partnership, Forest City acquired a 60 percent interest in the land for $82.4 million in mid-2007, later raising its stake to 90 percent for an additional $50 million.

One block became the site of City Hall, while the Regional Transportation Commission built its Bonneville Transit Terminal on another.

Because of the way the deal evolved, Las Vegas Land Partners refused to pay anything to Nype.

“This was a real estate transaction,” Sterling told the court in June.

“If it ends as a real estate transaction, then it’s a real estate transaction and he needs to be licensed as a salesman or broker.”

But the court noted that Nevada law exempts some people who do “not perform any tasks related to the sale or other transfer of an interest in real estate.”

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at 702-387-5290 or at toreiley@reviewjournal.com.

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