Vail Resorts wins round of development dispute

J.K. Perry
September 24, 2005

DENVER - Vail Resorts, Inc. has won the latest round of a lawsuit over a 1999 development dispute on Battle Mountain, involving land formerly owned by two Denver attorneys.

Last week, the state Court of Appeals found a lower Eagle County court erred in a 2003 decision to terminate a contract between Vail and the lawyers and reject Vail's option to purchase half of the land. The case will return to the lower court for reconsideration.

In 1999, Vail tried to buy half of the land the attorneys - whom formed a partnership called Turkey Creek LLC - bought with $4.5 million from the ski company.

Vail wanted to conserve most of the land while Turkey Creek wanted to develop the land. The lawyers, Jim Aronstein and Michael Page, sued Vail, arguing the land had to be developed in order for Vail to buy it.

The resort company countersued, claiming development was not a condition of purchase.

After losing in 2003, Vail appealed the decision, arguing the lower court had applied the wrong legal standard to decide the case.

"We're encouraged by the appeals court's decision in our favor, but we won't venture to predict the outcome," said Martha Rehm, an attorney for Vail.

Gordon "Skip" Netzorg, attorney for Turkey Creek, said the case would be reconsidered in Eagle County District Court, but declined to say what, if any, action would be taken pending the court's decision.

The land in dispute is about 6,000 acres between Red Cliff and Minturn, now owned by Ginn Development Company, LLC, which wants build a private ski resort there.

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or

Vail, Colorado