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For the week of January 31 through February 6, 2001

Lawsuit filed against developer

Express Staff Writer

Ron Achs, a Sun Valley resident and a principal in a mega-hog farm proposal, has been sued for allegedly bouncing a check he wrote to rent Hailey office space.

The suit, filed Jan. 23 in Fifth District Court in Hailey, claims Sun Valley Agribusiness Partners LLC, of which Achs is the owner of record, wrote a check on a closed account and defaulted on a lease agreement with Pine Street Stations Partners of Hailey.

Achs is also the manager and a shareholder of Big Sky Farming Group, the developer of a controversial confined animal feed operation proposed for a site near Burley in Cassia County.

According to the lawsuit, a $50,000 check had been provided by Achs to plaintiff Pine Street Station Partners, in whose building Achs agreed to rent an office with an option to purchase. The check covered a $25,000 security deposit and $25,000 for the purchase option. Written on an account at the First Bank of Idaho, the check was returned due to insufficient funds.

The account at First Bank of Idaho was closed, but not by "action of Sun Valley Agribusiness," said Achs’ Chicago attorney Anthony Nascharr.

The complaint also states that Achs failed to pay January rent as well as other expenses, which totaled $12,500.

According to Nascharr, there is an ongoing lease dispute between his client and Pine Street Station, based on a "failure of conditions in the lease." Nasharr declined to divulge what that dispute entails.

Pine Street Station Partners’ attorney is Gary Slette of Twin Falls. He is also the attorney for the Cassia County Coalition, a group formed to oppose the proposed Big Sky Farming Group hog farm.

Slette said, however, that he was not hired by the plaintiffs because of his Cassia County connection, and has known Eric Alberdi, a managing partner, with Gale Pooley, of Pine Street Station Partners, since before the Cassia County issue evolved. He said that when the $50,000 check allegedly bounced, Alberdi waited for some time before contacting Slette "because he was told the check would be made good."

Achs’ company, Sun Valley Agribusiness Partners, is one of several shareholders in Big Sky Farming Group. Sun Valley Futures is also one of Achs’ businesses.

Nascharr said "local counsel" will deal with the lawsuit, but declined to reveal that attorney’s name.

One of Achs’ partners in the Big Sky Farming Group is Clair Bosen, of Bosen Partnership, LLC, in Preston, Idaho.

"Achs is a player like everyone of us is," Bosen said Monday in a phone interview.

He also made it clear the civil suit has nothing to do with Achs position with Big Sky, and that it would not affect its finances.

The Cassia County Planning and Zoning Commission held hearings two weeks ago about the proposal, but has not yet ruled on whether to grant Big Sky the necessary permits.


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