No deal reached: Stadium developer’s team heads to mediation
Two consultants who were sued alongside would-be sports arena developer Chris Milam are heading to private mediation after failing to settle the case.
Milam’s land consultant Michael Ford and public relations-lobbying chief Lee Haney have not reached an agreement with Henderson City Hall, said Dennis Kennedy, a lawyer for the city, which sued the group on fraud allegations two months ago.
“We have not succeeded, but we’re not done,” Kennedy told District Court Judge Susan W. Scann at a hearing Thursday.
The two sides plan to work with retired District Court judge Jackie Glass to reach a deal.
Glass, the former host of the nationally syndicated court show “Swift Justice with Jackie Glass,” works at the mediation firm Private Trials. She helped city officials reach a settlement this month with Milam and project lawyer John Marchiano. As part of the deal, Milam is barred from working on future developments in Henderson.
Assistant City Attorney Brandon Kemble and Haney’s attorney Pat Lundvall declined to say after the hearing why they failed to reach an agreement so far, noting the talks are confidential.
Ford’s attorney Bill Maupin could not immediately be reached for comment. However, Ford said a few weeks ago that Henderson’s proposed settlement terms would prevent him from speaking freely about the case. City officials disputed his claim.
Milam laid out plans for an indoor arena and three stadiums near the M Resort as part of the Las Vegas National Sports Complex, though no teams committed to the facilities. He tried to buy the 485-acre project site from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
The city on Jan. 28 sued Milam, his lawyers Marchiano and Christopher Stephens, as well as Ford and Haney. Instead of following through on their development pact with City Hall, efforts were made to sell the land piecemeal to residential and commercial developers at a substantial profit, the lawsuit said.
Stephens paid $750 last month to settle the accusations against him.
Lenders who planned to finance Milam’s land acquisition paid the city of Henderson $250,000 on March 15 as part of a legal settlement. The payment was needed to keep the project alive and pay the city for legal costs.
The lenders must pay City Hall another $4.25 million by May 13 to close escrow on the land.
The project site is zoned for stadium or arena development. City Attorney Josh Reid indicated this month that Henderson officials are open to other commercial development there, but he ruled out single-family housing, which Milam allegedly pursued in violation of the development pact.