Henderson stadium suit headed to mediation for some parties

Calling retired Judge Jackie Glass: The city of Henderson and the two defendants in the city’s lawsuit against disgraced developer Chris Milam need your mediation skills.

Former Bureau of Land Management official Mike Ford and public relations specialist Lee Haney, consultants in Milam’s ill-fated arena land deal, refused to settle with the city by a Thursday deadline.

Henderson officials sued Milam and four consultants on Jan. 28, alleging a fraudulent conspiracy to buy 480 acres of federal land and flip it to homebuilders instead of building a sports arena and stadium complex as Milam promised.

Milam and lawyers Chris Stephens and John Marchiano have settled with the city, but Ford said the agreement would violate his free speech rights to criticize the city.

Lawyers representing the parties agreed Thursday to enlist Glass, a former Clark County District Court judge, to mediate a settlement.

Glass is already familiar with the case. She worked with Milam and the city for 11 hours to reach their settlement.

Glass presided over O.J. Simpson’s 2008 trial for his role in an armed robbery and kidnapping at Palace Station. He was sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison. She replaced Nancy Grace as host of the syndicated “Swift Justice” TV show in 2011.

The feud between Henderson and Ford has been contentious. Henderson officials, in court papers, alleged Ford pushed BLM paperwork on the land deal against their wishes and used his connection to business partner and former BLM Director Bob Abbey to help the deal. Ford denied wrongdoing; Abbey maintains he was not involved in the BLM’s acceptance of Milam’s bid.

Under the city-Milam settlement, Milam’s Texas-based lenders, Rockafellow Investments, LLC, and II C.B., LLC, will get the land on May 13 if they pay the city $4.25 million. Also, Milam has agreed to never do business in Henderson.

Contact reporter Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273.

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