Final Costco deal remains unsolved
Carson City officials found themselves between a rock wall and a hard place Thursday as complications continued to spill out of the Costco land deal.
The Carson City Redevelopment Authority heard again from Costco neighbors Gene and Judy Lepire, owners of Comstock Country RV Resort, who are refusing to sign documents necessary for escrow to close in the Costco deal because of a continuing dispute over a wall bordering the Costco and Lepire properties.
The tangle in the process comes because the Lepires want the wall, which is under construction, built along the entire property line. Costco has to build part of the wall from the Lepires’ property side and must have an easement agreement from the Lepires.
Previously, the Lepires and Costco had signed an easement agreement. However, Deputy District Attorney Neil Rombardo said until the agreement is recorded as part of the escrow process, Costco won’t finish the north portion of the much-contested wall.
“This situation has changed non-stop,” he said. “The target in this situation continues to move. By target, I mean what the city or Costco must do. What if someone changes their mind?”
The Lepires apparently view the company’s insistence on escrow as a sign of bad faith that Costco won’t build the wall.
“Hopefully, the company can convince the Lepires by some statement that they intend to finish the wall,” City Manager John Berkich said.
The Lepires cited different issues relating to insurance and maintenance of the wall on which the couple and Costco officials continue to negotiate.
Judy Lepire said repeated questions to the city go unanswered, preventing the couple from signing the escrow documents. Issues which arose because of some trees on the property line are causing problems with the wall and escrow progress as well.
“Please don’t make us out to be the bad guys,” she said. “There’s a little bit of that in all of of us. This hasn’t been fair to us. I haven’t heard one board member say, ‘the Lepires aren’t as whiny as we’ve made them out to be.'”
She said the construction has caused a loss of business to the RV park. She also said she didn’t understand why the easement agreement needed to be put through escrow.
“(The wall) has been the issue from day one. We’ve already got signed agreements,” she said. “If you think you’re the only one who wants to be done with this, you’re not. We don’t want to be sued. We don’t want to hold up escrow. You can help us do closure.”
Berkich said there is little the city can do because the issues are essentially between Costco and the Lepires.
“As a business issue the city remains intimately involved to make an attempt to resolve the endless series of issues since the signing of the agreement, which we thought memorialized the agreement,” he said.
Berkich and Rombardo said the city may end up suing the Lepires for breech of contract for not signing the final escrow papers.
Frustrated with the ongoing problems, Supervisor Robin Williamson asked the Lepires what it would take for them to sign the escrow papers.
“Give me $72,500 or the fence,” Gene Lepire said. “If two minutes from now someone hands me a check for $72,500, I’ll go down and sign the papers.
“Either put up or shut up or sue me or do what you want to do.”
The $72,500 refers to a sum he is negotiating with Costco for insurance coverage on the wall.
Supervisors opted to start the process of closing escrow without the Lepires’ signatures. The option of seeking legal action was put on hold until Aug. 3.
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