The judge handling the lawsuit over the sale of the former Miller Motorsports Park has denied Tooele County’s request to hold an auction to sell the racetrack.
In a motion filed on June 23, 2017 with 3rd District Court Judge Randall Skanchy, Tooele County petitioned the judge to allow the county to hire a third-party auctioneer to promote and conduct a public auction to sell Utah Motorsports Campus to the highest bidder.
Center Point Management’s request that the court direct Tooele County to sell the racetrack to Center Point for $28.1 million is currently before Skanchy.
Skanchy did not like Tooele County’s request to set aside Center Point’s claim for an auction.
“While the court may be able to exercise equitable powers to order an auction, even if it could, it will not,” wrote Skanchy in his Aug. 31, 2017 decision.
In his decision, Skanchy referred to two problems with the county’s request.
“To permit an auction at this time would expose a potential third party buyer to liability under Center Point’s remaining claim for specific performance,” wrote Skanchy.
Skanchy then went on to write, “In addition, the County fails to give any legitimate reason why it is now seeking an auction, after refusing to accept a prior sale for millions of dollars in excess of the County’s next best alternative.”
In a separate decision, also issued on Aug. 31, Skanchy allowed Center Point’s attorney, Brian Steffenson, to withdraw as counsel.
“He [Steffenson] cites unresolved financial issues and communication problems with Center Point,” wrote Skanchy.
Skanchy directed Tooele County to serve a Notice to Appear or Appoint Counsel on Center Point Management and file a copy with the court, in accordance with Utah Rules of Civil Procedure.
According to court rules, no further proceedings can take place until 21 days after the filing of the notice, unless Center Point waives the time requirement or the court orders otherwise.
Tooele County Attorney Scott Broadhead said he has already heard from a new attorney that said he will be representing Center Point, so the 21-day period to appoint a new attorney may be shortened, he said.
“We do have some motions pending regarding Center Point’s specific performance claim which can be noticed up for hearing,” Broadhead said. “We will have to wait and see what maneuvers the new attorney makes.”
In Jan. 2016, the Tooele County Commission contracted with Utah Motorsports Campus to manage the former Miller Motorsports Park for the county while waiting for legal action regarding the sale of the facility to be settled. At that time the Miller Motorsports Park was renamed Utah Motorsports Campus. UMC managed the facility in 2016 and 2017. No agreement to manage the track has been made public for 2018.