Warm Springs deal
Tischer will file suit against
owners and former partner
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
A part-time Ketchum resident embroiled in
a bitter dispute over the ownership of Warm Springs Ranch is preparing to file a
lawsuit later this week against the property’s new ownership group.
George W. Tischer, who for several months
has been trying to assert the terms of a now-expired 2002 contract he negotiated
to buy the 76-acre Ketchum property, plans to sue the principals of Sun Valley
Ventures, the owner of Warm Springs Ranch since March.
Sun Valley Ventures and Warm Springs Ranch
and Restaurant LLC—a company partly owned by Tischer—had been battling for
control of the restaurant and golf course property since last winter.
The new lawsuit—which will be the fifth
major suit filed in the matter since April—would further complicate a vastly
complex situation that appeared close to resolution two weeks ago. At that time,
Sun Valley Ventures and Stephen Roth, Tischer’s partner in Warm Springs Ranch
and Restaurant LLC, reached a "global settlement" designed to end all the
litigation between the two parties.
The settlement established Roth as a new
partner and interest owner in Sun Valley Ventures and its pending redevelopment
of Warm Springs Ranch. Tischer was not included in the settlement.
However, Patrick Catalano, a
California-based attorney representing Tischer, said Tuesday the debate over who
is the rightful owner of the high-profile property has not been settled.
Catalano said he is preparing a complaint
alleging that Sun Valley Ventures illegally interfered with the 2002 contract
Tischer had entered into to buy the ranch from its former owner, the Simpson
Family Limited Partnership.
A draft of Tischer’s forthcoming suit
names a long list of defendants, including Sun Valley Ventures, Roth and two
more of the company’s principals, Erwin Mieger and Robert Bisno.
Catalano said the suit will allege that
Roth—as a partner in Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant—violated his
responsibilities to Tischer by signing on to become a partner in Sun Valley
Ventures without informing Tischer of his intentions.
The suit would technically be an amendment
to a separate suit filed by Tischer in California Superior Court on Nov. 19.
That suit sought an injunction to prohibit Sun Valley Ventures and Roth from
settling the matter of ownership of the property between themselves.
The suit stated that "Mr. Tischer is
currently in an alcohol treatment recovery program" and alleged that the
defendants "are attempting to violate his rights… by settling this matter
without his involvement."
The court denied the injunction, but
Tischer has retained the right to sue his adversaries, Catalano said.
"We are definitely going to proceed
against the Mieger interests," he said.
Sun Valley Ventures is now owned
principally by Mieger, Roth, Bisno and Barbara Young. Ketchum resident Henry
Dean is general counsel and project director for the company.
Dean could not be reached for comment on
the suit filed by Tischer on Nov. 19 or on the pending suit.
However, he has stated repeatedly that Sun
Valley Ventures is proceeding with drafting a formal development plan for the
site despite the ongoing legal disputes.