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IndyBlog | Local Government

City of Las Vegas poised to hand Badlands case to former Bundy attorney

Men ride a cart while golfing at Coyote Springs, located 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas, on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Nevada's top water regulator is blocking the development because there may not be enough ground water to support it. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

As the years-long fight over the stalled development of the Badlands golf course drags into the new decade, Las Vegas City Attorney Brad Jerbic has sought the help of one-time Ammon Bundy lawyer Dan Hill’s law firm to defend the city in “all of the currently-pending ‘Badlands’ litigations.”

According to an agreement between Hill and the city obtained by The Nevada Independent, Hill’s firm is set to represent the city at a cost of $21,000 per month through the duration of all lawsuits “until all of the litigations are fully resolved, meaning closed by the district court with no further possible appeals.” 

The city has for the last two years defended itself in roughly a dozen lawsuits from Badlands developer Yohan Lowie and his company EHB, who claim that the city has unlawfully restricted the use of private property and delayed the application process. 

In one of those disputes, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled early last month that the city acted properly when it initially approved development plans, overturning a district court ruling that said Lowie had erred in not seeking approval for a “major modification” to the golf course. 

But residents of the wealthy Queensridge neighborhood, where the Badlands course sits, have long sought to stall development, charging that the high-density project will hurt property values.

The fight over the Badlands golf course has in some ways come to define the city’s politics over the past few years, often shining a spotlight on backbiting and personal attacks between politicians, lawyers and Lowie. 

The legal fight has racked up roughly $2 million in legal fees and staffing costs for the city, with the potential to rack up hundreds of thousands more should litigation continue to drag on. 

Hill defended Ammon Bundy during the infamous Bundy Standoff trial following the 2014 armed standoff sparked by years of illegal grazing at the Bundy family’s Bunkerville ranch. That suit famously ended in the dismissal of all charges against the Bundys because of prosecutorial misconduct by federal prosecutors.

City Councilwoman Michele Fiore — at the time a state legislator — was a vocal supporter of the Bundy family and was present during the 2014 Bunkerville standoff. During an interview on MSNBC at the time, Fiore said federal authorities should not have arrived armed and “expect the American people not to fire back.”

Fiore also was involved in the 2016 standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon when she negotiated with federal law enforcement as they closed in on the remaining occupiers.

Requests for comment from Jerbic and Fiore were not immediately returned. 

Badlands representation agr… by Jacob Solis on Scribd

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