Mountain View Club owner accepts cash settlement
Mountain View Club owner Jim Matthews has accepted a $10,000 cash settlement from the South Lake Tahoe City Council.
Matthews, who was forced to vacate the club at the Lake Tahoe Airport in September after noise complaints essentially ran him out of business, apparently did not want to involve the city in a lawsuit.
“Jim never liked idea of suing the city, and (he) felt the City Council was very fair and accommodating,” said his attorney Dale Sare. “He needed to recover his losses, but he didn’t want to sue the city because of the quality and professionalism of the City Council.”
The council voted on March 18 to make the settlement offer in response to Matthews’ original request of $30,000 – money he says he invested in the property through capital improvements. Tuesday was the deadline for Matthews’ decision.
Sare said if the city did not settle with Matthews, it would have been included in a lawsuit planned against about a dozen residents near the airport, whom Matthews claims conspired to put him out of business.
The lawsuit, asking for damages in an amount between $250,000 and $300,000, is expected to be filed within the next week to ten days, Sare said.
Dennis Crabb, city attorney, said he is working on ways for the city to recover the $10,000, which could be accomplished through increased rent for the next tenant at the airport, a possible insurance claim or a combination of both.
He said the city was covered under Mountain View Club’s insurance policy, and therefore may be eligible to make a claim for the amount of the settlement.
“I have not seen it yet, but the insurance policy apparently contained a contractual liability measure, so if there was a dispute, there would be coverage,” Crabb said.
Every claim against the city is paid through a special settlement insurance fund, and then attempted to be repaid over time from the department in which the claim originated, Crabb said.
The city also agree to assist Matthews in the sale of his liquor license to the new tenant at the airport by helping with paperwork, Crabb said. Matthews is offering to sell his license for $4,500, as opposed to the $6,000 a tenant would have to pay for a new liquor license.
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