Warm Springs Ranch suits settled
Roth joins Sun Valley Ventures
in out-of-court agreement
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Two groups in litigation over ownership of
Warm Springs Ranch reached a settlement last week that established
California-based Sun Valley Ventures as the rightful title holder to the 76-acre
property northwest of downtown Ketchum.
Sun Valley residents Clarke Hall and
Jennifer Rush enjoy a fireside cocktail at Warm Springs Ranch Restaurant
Monday evening. A series of lawsuits over ownership of the restaurant and
surrounding ranch were settled out of court last week. Express photo by David
Representatives of Sun Valley Ventures and
rival development group Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant LLC confirmed Monday
that a series of lawsuits between the two parties had been resolved in a "global
settlement" that will ensure none of the civil cases proceeds in court.
Although the exact terms of the settlement
were not released, representatives from both sides confirmed that the agreement
will establish Stephen Roth, the majority owner of Warm Springs Ranch and
Restaurant, as a partner and interest owner in Sun Valley Ventures and its
pending redevelopment of Warm Springs Ranch.
Erwin Mieger, managing member of Sun
Valley Ventures, said he is pleased to welcome his former adversary Roth into
the company. "Mr. Roth is a well-respected member of this community who is
committed to Ketchum and Warm Springs Ranch," he said. "We’re happy to have this
matter resolved and welcome Steve’s full involvement and participation in this
Sun Valley Ventures will now be owned
principally by Mieger, Roth, Barbara Young and Robert Bisno. Ketchum resident
Henry Dean is general counsel and project director for the company.
Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant, owned
principally by Roth and minority partner George W. Tischer, has legally
relinquished all claims of ownership to Warm Springs Ranch, parties from both
"As the manager with control of the
company, Steve Roth had the right to settle the litigation," said Steve
Hardesty, attorney for Roth and Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant.
Tischer could not be reached for comment
Monday, when the settlement was announced.
Dean said the settlement will not allow
Tischer any ownership in the ranch property. "He will not be involved," he said.
Dean noted that the settlement did not
include any monetary damages or court-cost payments from one side to the other.
Bob Dunn, the owner of the restaurant and
golf course businesses at Warm Springs Ranch, will continue to manage the
restaurant under Roth, the parties announced Monday.
Roth said he will work closely with Dunn
to ensure the restaurant continues to operate. "It is important to me and all
the members of Sun Valley Ventures that the restaurant continues to accommodate
the needs of a year-round, growing community, while maintaining the
family-style, rustic feeling the restaurant has always offered," he said.
The settlement brings to a close six
months of complex litigation between Sun Valley Ventures and Warm Springs Ranch
Sun Valley Ventures—which in March
acquired title to Warm Springs Ranch for $12 million—first filed suit against
Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant in U.S. District Court in Boise last April.
On June 11, the company then filed a civil
complaint against Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant in 5th District Court in
Hailey. That suit alleged that Tischer committed "fraud" and "materially
breached" elements of a July 2002 contract he had established to purchase the
property from the owners, the Simpson Family Limited Partnership.
On June 12, Warm Springs Ranch and
Restaurant filed a separate lawsuit in 5th District Court against Sun Valley
Ventures, claiming that Mieger and his associates illegally interfered with that
same July 2002 purchase contract held by Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant.
In 5th District Court earlier
this month, both parties agreed to an injunction that would disallow Sun Valley
Ventures from making changes to the golf course and restaurant businesses until
the case was resolved in court. District Judge Daniel B. Meehl on Nov. 13
ordered that a trial for the case be commenced on Feb. 2, 2004.
Dean confirmed that all of the lawsuits
between the two parties will be dropped as a result of the litigation. "This is
a global settlement that affects all litigation," he said.
Just two weeks ago, it appeared the two
parties would indeed be headed to trial. Hardesty alleged on Nov. 13 that Sun
Valley Ventures "bought the (Warm Springs) property out from under Warm Springs
Ranch and Restaurant."
Sun Valley Ventures representatives said
this week that the company will now promptly proceed with plans to redevelop
Warm Springs Ranch. The company has commissioned a group of 11 Ketchum residents
and business owners to guide establishment of a formal development plan for the
Tentative plans for the property have
included a hotel, fractional-ownership townhouses, open space and a public