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Judge upholds decision dismissing bias over Las Vegas development

A federal judge will not reconsider a December ruling that threw out a lawsuit accusing two Las Vegas elected officials of “remarkable” bias and animus toward a proposed residential development on the defunct Badlands golf course.

Developer Yohan Lowie and his companies, which were plaintiffs in the lawsuit, did not show they have a “protected property interest” to develop the land, U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan ruled May 2 in upholding his earlier decision.

Lowie, CEO of EHB Cos., had sued Councilman Bob Coffin and then-Councilman Steve Seroka, who both oppose the planned development, for allegedly violating equal protection and procedural due process clauses under the U.S. and Nevada constitutions.

After Mahan dismissed the claims in December, Lowie’s attorneys requested Mahan reconsider the procedural due process claims.

Coffin and Seroka were accused of spearheading unfair and arbitrary treatment toward the stalled proposal to build homes on part of the 250-acre property. The plot is zoned for single-family residences and weaves through the affluent Queensridge community in western Las Vegas.

Coffin also had been accused of anti-Semitic behavior, with plaintiffs pointing toward one council meeting where Coffin remarked that Lowie, who is of Jewish descent, was treating Queensridge residents as “a band of unruly Palestinians.” After the December ruling, Coffin said he felt “kind of relieved,” calling the experience “horrible” and noting he had never before been so accused.

“It’s frustrating because I know in the end this will be the final conclusion,” Coffin said Monday. “But how do you get your reputation back?”

Coffin added he believed Lowie’s attorneys would likely appeal.

He also shared the news on Twitter, writing that Mahan “has ruled against the Badlands owners on their fake, slanderous claim that I am anti-Semitic. The judge upheld his December ruling against moneybag developer Yohan Lowie and his wealthier backers.”

A message left for Lowie’s attorneys was not immediately returned. Seroka also did not return a voicemail.

For roughly four years, the Badlands project has been a source of contention in the city’s Ward 2, pitting the developer’s claim of trampled property rights against neighbors worried about excessive residential density.

The battle spurred a recall effort against Seroka, who resigned two months ago for reasons still unknown, and has led to several costly lawsuits against the city that remain ongoing.

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