Wyoming-based Center Point Management LLC has filed a lawsuit against Tooele County and likely buyer Mitime, alleging that the parties broke the law in allowing Mitime to purchase Miller Motorsports Park for a lower bid than Center Point offered.
In the lawsuit, Center Point is seeking an order that would prevent the sale of Miller Motorsports Park to Mitime, per Deseret News.
Remember the guy who complained about Mitime’s lower bid with the original announcement of Miller’s plans to sell? That would be Andrew Cartwright of Center Point Management LLC. Now he’s turning his complaints into legal action.
According to Fox 13, the lawsuit alleges that Mitime’s offer of $20 million was the lowest of all bids received. Center Point offered $27 million.
The lawsuit, as quoted by Fox 13, reads:
The sale, however, is unlawful. By basing its decision on future benefits of uncertain value, the County violated local ordinances and state law that prohibit the sale of County-owned property for anything less than full and adequate consideration. By its unlawful conduct, the County, moreover, deprived Center Point of fair and lawful consideration of its competing bid.
The Salt Lake Tribune points out that local and state law prohibits the sale of county-owned land “for anything less than full and an adequate consideration.”
Tooele County Commissioner Shawn Milne explained that Mitime’s additional investment in the property was a factor in the county’s decision.
“One specific number they threw in during the negotiations was 270 million dollars of additional investment in the property itself over the next decade,” Milne told Fox 13 in August.
Per Fox 13 reporter Robert Boyd’s account of the announcement, included in that figure were improvements to the track as well as a manufacturing facility for race cars. Mitime said that they aimed to bring in up to $1 billion in revenue to the county over the next 25 years.
Cartwright told KUTV that his company had offered to not only keep the track operational, but spend $140 million on improvements to the site including homes, condos and an office building.
Given the vague details, it sounds like the county simply believed that Mitime’s plan could benefit the county more than Center Point’s. The county absolutely wanted to keep the track open, but they also need to ensure that it stays open. Homes next to a race track are a hard sell beyond the total die-hards. A manufacturing facility works in an already noisy space, though.
Wild guess: I’d also say that being a subsidiary of Geely — an enormous international corporation that manufacturers cars — also means that Mitime could be a more financially stable owner for the site than the average developer.
Center Point, however, alleges that the county is legally prohibited from considering promised upgrades in the decision to sell the property.
The lawsuit, as quoted by Deseret News, reads: “Mitime’s promise in (its bid) to employ its best efforts to fulfill its intentions and goals regarding future development of the property is unenforceable, illusory and is of no clear, certain or present benefit to the county.”
Unfortunately, this appears to be yet another hurdle in keeping Miller open. I don’t care who owns the playground so long as they’re able to maintain it and keep it open for years to come.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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