Marina faces court challenge |

Marina faces court challenge

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The changing face of the Stateline area may be called into question as a longtime legal battle involving the Lakeside Marina heads to trial this month.

The Lakeside Park Association, consisting of home and motel owners, has filed a civil suit against the Lakeside Yacht & Harbor Club, a group of boat owners who lease the slips at the end of Park Avenue from the LPA.

The yacht club’s 20-year lease agreement, now managed by the LPA, expired in June, and the LPA appears to have other, more revenue-generating plans for the modest, working-class marina with 91 slips.

It has asked the boatslip renters to leave.

“The LPA has different plans for the marina and wants them out,” yacht club Attorney Ken Rollston said.

A hearing regarding that matter has been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday in El Dorado County Superior Court. The trial is set for the end of the month.

“This impasse has to be worked out, and worked out fairly. Ed McCarthy won’t succeed with his pie-in-the-sky proposal to simply take the marina away from the group that has run it for some 50 years and then expand operations to generate more revenue,” yacht club President Don Pereira told the members. “We’re going to fight them to the end,” he said Wednesday.

Pereira has used a slip there since 1957.

The club has offered to double the leasing rates, which now range from $300 to $400 a year depending on the berth.

In a newsletter obtained by the Tahoe Daily Tribune, the LPA said it received $7,000 in revenue in 2001. The organization believes the boat revenue should generate $130,000.

LPA President Ed McCarthy, who runs the Stardust Lodge, has refrained from comment on the legal matter except to confirm the LPA is interested in expanding the marina. He declined to share specific plans.

The LPA’s attorney, Bruce Grego, has also declined to comment.

After three years of attempted negotiations broke down between the two parties, both sides expect the matter will only be resolved in court.

The LPA claims the yacht club and its board of directors “have personally conspired to slander the title to the leased property” with malice, the legal complaint reads.

Yacht club members, now numbering 70 people, have used the marina for almost half a century, and now many of them have pledged to keep their investment in slip and fuel upgrades as well as its waterway rights through the California State Lands Commission.

Commission legal counsel Jim Frey said Wednesday the agency awaits a judgment or settlement in the case. Both parties have pending applications with the commission.

The stalemate has, in the LPA’s eyes, “placed a cloud not only of title on the land, but on the marina” for other prospective lessees, the complaint adds.

The LPA, which owns the access to the slips, seeks total control of the property and punitive damages amounting to $500,000, the complaint states.

Caught in the middle of the legal fray is Roger Gadsby, who has run the Lakeside Marina business for a decade. He and his brother Steve lease their operation from the yacht club.

Gadsby, fearing his business hangs in the balance with his association with the club, said he understands the LPA’s desire to make more money on the marina, but he also sympathizes with the boatslip renters.

Gadsby has offered to put up some capital on an agreed-upon expansion plan, but he’s awaiting the legal outcome.

“The LPA has tried every legal position to get the Lake Tahoe Yacht Club to leave. We’re a separate issue, but I hate to leave without compensation after 10 years of labor,” Gadsby said, adding the LPA is “coming in like thieves in the night.”

The LPA’s legal problems don’t end with the yacht club.

The South Tahoe Public Utility District filed suit against the association when the LPA “took control” of its water customers, the district contends. The LPA invested in its own water system, therefore diverting water and undertaking unfair business practices, the pending legal complaint reads.

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