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Developer's Attorney Bashes Summit County"s Lawsuits And Accusations In Hideout Fight


The attorney for developer Nate Brockbank is lambasting Summit County’s latest litigation against Brockbank and the Mayflower Company.

Bruce Baird says the county’s case will fail when it goes to a court hearing scheduled next week.

The latest proposed annexation being considered by the town of Hideout into Summit County is Brockbank’s proposed mixed-use project on 380 acres near Richardson Flat.

Virtually all the property is held by the Dutch company Mayflower Stichting.

But Summit County’s lawsuit last week alleged it has an ownership interest in a key Mayflower parcel, and so it can veto that parcel being in the annexation.

But Baird said the litigation is “as utterly without merit as every other lawsuit the county has filed to date.”

He said the county has no other interest in the parcel except for a couple of acres.            

“The county owns two acres of the property and none of the rest of it.  And it wasn’t illegally subdivided.  And we’re confident that once we explain it to the court, the court will have no problem understanding it.   We’ve had a very detailed, excellent forensic survey done, and we’ll be presenting that to the court.  And we’re confident that it’s clear as a bell, and the county simply doesn’t know what it’s talking about.”

Baird also firmly rejected the idea that the county is a tenant-in-common on the disputed SS-86 parcel of nearly 147 acres.        

“Properties that Mayflower has an interest in connect to the annexation, and the annexation is perfectly 100 percent kosher.   And we’re confident that the court will understand that.”

A court hearing, on Summit County’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order, is scheduled for next Tuesday, October 6, before Judge Richard Mrazik.

Baird said he’s not representing Brockbank in court as litigation counsel.   That’s attorney Jefferson Gross.   Baird is Brockbank’s development counsel.   He said he won’t be a witness either.

Concerning the legal war over Hideout’s attempted annexation that’s raged for over two months, Baird said he and his client haven’t done anything wrong.      

“The county’s allegations-- that we’re-that several lawyers and Mayflower and Wells Fargo, subsidiary related party, are all criminal racketeers—are all absurd, 100 percent absurd.”

Summit County has also alleged that supporters of Brockbank pulled a “bait and switch” at this spring’s Legislature, where an annexation bill, HB 359, was modified at the last minute with alleged “technical changes.”    Actually, the county said, the revised bill allowed Hideout to annex into the Richardson Flat area without Summit County’s consent.

Baird said nothing inappropriate happened there.    

“Legislators were approached the way legislators are often approache, to solve problems.  And I wasn’t directly involved in obtaining the approvals from the legislature.   There’s allegations in the Summit County complaint that I actually wrote the language in 359.  That’s not true.  There was nothing that was done that was inappropriate.  And I think that was established by the fact that the legislature did not repeal the law effective immediately.”

He said while lawmakers repealed HB 359 in a special session, they acted wisely by not putting it into effect until October 20th.       

“It instead gave a 60-day window, out of fairness to all the parties, to complete the annexation.   And we think everything was 100 percent kosher.  (Rick) If it’s appropriate, why repeal it at all, even with a 60-day delay?  (Baird) I’m not the legislature.  Legislatures change their minds lots of times, Rick.  I’ll wait til the Legislature makes a final decision on the rather messed-up and incomprehensible annexation language in the state of Utah in the next few—in the next legislative session.”

We asked the attorney if, in general, a municipality should be able to annex into a county without that county’s consent.     

“It’s a creature of state law.  The state legislature can make it a Yes or a No legislature wants to.  I think as a matter of public policy, generally, counties shouldn’t be providing municipal services like they are in this situation.   And cities should be providing municipal services.  If the county won’t provide the services, and is as anti-development and as ridiculous about development as Summit County is, then I think the city should be allowed to do it and provide the services.”

Attorney Bruce Baird.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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