LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Money’s tight these days but the city of Las Vegas is ready to spend hundreds of thousands fighting lawsuits over a defunct golf course.
The move comes as tax revenues dwindle and local governments raise the specter of drastic budget cuts.
Critics say city leaders will just be throwing good money after bad as it takes steps to hire a new law firm to take over its defense in the multiple ongoing lawsuits over the defunct Badlands golf course.
The new agreement between the Hill law firm and the city must still be approved by the city council. It's on the council's agenda for next Wednesday and it comes at a cost to taxpayers of $21,000 per month and will last through the duration of all lawsuits until they're fully resolved, meaning closed by the district court with no further possible appeals.
The legal fight has already cost taxpayers more than $2.3 million in legal fees and staffing costs, which doesn't include the extensive work that will be billed for April as the litigation continues to drag on.
Attorney Dan Hill will take over from all existing outside counsel except for a firm in San Francisco, which will stay on as a subject matter expert in the area of inverse condemnation--a term used in the law to describe a situation in which the government takes private property but fails to pay the compensation required by the 5th Amendment of the Constitution, so the property's owner has to sue to obtain the required just compensation.
Hill is a criminal defense lawyer whose clients have included the president of the Vagos biker gang and cattle rancher Ammon Bundy of the infamous armed standoff with federal law enforcement.
Because Hill's contract is for professional services, the city says it did not have to go out to bid.
Many say city leaders brought the Badlands lawsuits on themselves after placing overly burdensome restrictions on developer and landowner Yohan Lowie.
The council's past actions have been criticized as being politically motivated by a handful of wealthy Queensridge homeowners who don't want the land developed.
In January, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that development should have been allowed all along as Lowie's property is residentially zoned.
The lawsuits allege the city illegally took the land, devaluing the property beyond repair.