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County says court erred in affirming $48M Badlands ruling; urges rehearing

Updated June 5, 2024 - 6:33 pm

A Clark County friend-of-the-court brief says the Nevada Supreme Court erred in upholding a District Court’s ruling to order the city of Las Vegas to pay $48 million to the owner of the defunct Badlands golf course

Clark County, joined by the cities of Henderson, Boulder and Mesquite, threw its support behind the city of Las Vegas’ petition for rehearing in the filing with the state’s highest court last week.

“If rehearing is not granted, it will not only result in the overpayment of compensation by the city for the taking, but also impact the valuation of property in other takings cases,” the county and municipalities argue in the brief, which was filed on May 28.

The city of Las Vegas filed a petition for rehearing with the state Supreme Court on May 20, arguing that the court has “overlooked, misapprehended and disregarded” material facts in the case.

In mid-April, members of the state Supreme Court unanimously affirmed an August District Court ruling that the city had improperly “taken” 35 acres of land from the owner of EHB Cos., who proposed turning a closed golf course near Alta Drive and Rampart Boulevard into a housing development.

The city had rejected applications to develop the 250-acre plot, resulting in several lawsuits being filed against the city claiming the council’s actions prevented the owner from developing the property. Two lawsuits, which are under appeal, award $189 million to the developer, and yet another lawsuit is still pending.

The county and municipalities argue in the brief that the District Court “abused its discretion” when it excluded the land’s purchase price and denied a request by city attorneys to cross examine a land appraiser used in the case.

Jim Leavitt, an attorney for the developers, said he was “taken aback” by the filing because city attorneys were never told they weren’t able to cross-examine the landowner’s appraiser and said they had other opportunities to hire their own appraiser, according to Leavitt.

“The Nevada Supreme Court got it right,” Leavitt said. “The Nevada Supreme Court entered its detailed 33-page opinion based on law and the facts, and there’s no chance that it’s going to reverse itself.”

The yearslong legal battle has cost city taxpayers almost $6 million in legal fees alone, and courts have imposed more than $230 million in rulings against the city.

Officials with the county did not respond to requests for comment.

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on X.

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