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November 28, 2013
Tooele Associates demands payment

Tooele Associates wants their money, and they want it now.

On Nov. 9, Utah 3rd District Court Judge Randall Skanchy issued a written judgment that orders Tooele City to pay $20.7 million to Tooele Associates.

The written judgment followed a verbal judgment the judge issued last month. It means a four-year old jury trial verdict regarding Tooele Associates’ claim that Tooele City broke a development agreement for the Overlake project will stand.

Shortly after the judge’s Nov. 9 written judgment, Tooele Associates’ attorney wrote to Tooele City and demanded immediate payment.

“We note that the city’s financial statements and independent auditor’s report for FY 2012 indicates that the City has $23,46 6,682 in ‘unrestricted net assets’ that ‘may be used to meet the [City’s] ongoing obligations to citizens and creditors’” wrote Bruce Baird, in his letter dated Nov. 19.

He continued: “Thus, Tooele City cannot  legitimately claim that it is ‘unable to pay the award…’ Accordingly, we respectfully expect that payment of the entire judgment will be immediately forthcoming.”

However, Tooele City Mayor Patrick Dunlavy referred to the letter as a “formality.”

“The letter and demand for payment is part of the legal process and was not unexpected,” he said. “The city council is still completing their due process, examining the judgment and deciding how the city will proceed.”

Dunlavy pointed out that Baird’s interpretation of the city’s financial statements are incorrect.

“We don’t have $23 million in unrestricted assets just lying around in the bank,” he said.

With the help of professional municipal financial advisors, Dunlavy has developed a plan for paying the $20.7 million over 10 years, the time period that state statute gives cities to pay judgments, according to the mayor.

The city council has not ruled out the possibility of an appeal, he noted.

In the meantime, the judgment allows interest at around 2.15 percent to accrue on the $20.7 million starting Nov. 9.

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