I think it’s time you as a ratepayer of the Virgin Valley Water District start asking why you are paying for a frivolous lawsuit that you don’t need to be in.
Before you go further – may I suggest that you read today’s article bringing you up to speed on the current standing of the lawsuit between the Water District and Paradise Canyon.
Paradise Canyon LLC, better known in these parts as Wolf Creek golf course, filed a lawsuit against the Virgin Valley Water District in May 2018 that so far has cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. And it’s far from the end of the money you will pay while to the other side the amount of money is a ‘drop in the bucket.’
But don’t blame the water district. It didn’t do anything but what you voted the Water District Board of Directors to do when you elected them. And that is to make sure everyone is paying their fair share of the cost of developing and maintaining your ability to wake up every morning, turn on the faucet and get the one sustenance you can’t live without.
What’s interesting is that Wolf Creek has to be paying its lawyers a similar “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to fight the water district while it could simply agree to terms that would only cost it about $85,000 more a year in water rates. Does that make sense to you?
Unlike other former VVWD board members, I make a full disclosure up front. Wolf Creek’s lawyers recently served me a subpoena to give a deposition in the lawsuit. I’ll give you more details in a minute.
In addition to proof that Wolf Creek was/is paying off local politicians to get what it wants as the Mesquite Local News recently reported about current Councilwoman Sandra Ramaker, there’s now documented proof that another former councilman and water board director Robert “Bubba” Smith was also on Wolf Creek’s payroll.
In October 2011, Smith sent Wolf Creek representatives an email outlining that he wanted two tee times a month for him and three of his closest friends and up to $750 a month in credit to use in the pro shop. Looks like he got a better deal than Ramaker.
Maybe you need to start asking what other politicians, former and current, Wolf Creek was/is paying off to get its way. These people are serving not just as snitches but also as mouthpieces for possible corruption in your local government.
What a shame that one business has now brought ‘the swamp’ to Mesquite.
What Wolf Creek is trying to do is make this dispute about a breach of contract. It’s not. It’s about the right of those you elected to do what they think is best for you and the water district overall. If a judge takes that right away from the water board, he is taking that right away from you. Is that okay with you?
It’s about the politics of one man and one business who has decided that he has the right to control politicians and have them do whatever he wants. That takes away a lot more from you than just your money. It takes your fundamental, constitutional right to have a say in your government away and leaves you nothing while he is swimming in all the political corruption he can afford.
Remember, for every dollar the water district doesn’t rightfully receive from its irrigation water leases is another dollar you, the ratepayer must pony up. Fair to you? Ask that question.
All the other golf courses have found sources of water for their operations at far higher rates than Wolf Creek is paying. Ask why that’s okay for everyone else but not for Wolf Creek.
The subpoena I was served is asking me to provide all documents including emails, text messages, letters, notes and, absurdly, requests made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act or any other law between me and the Bingham, Snow & Caldwell law firm; me and the Water District; me, the law firm, and the Water District. Lastly it requests me to give them everything relating to my “cessation and/or termination as member of the Board of Director of the District.”
Most everything they are asking for is protected under the Nevada Media Shield Law, which does not allow access to information I gather as a member of the media.
I left the board in April 2018 before Wolf Creek filed the lawsuit. I was not on the board when the duly elected and appointed officials voted and approved 5-0 to set the lease rate at $1,115. Why is Wolf Creek subpoenaing me? My only guess is to shut me up from writing any more articles about Wolf Creek. Or perhaps they just want to irritate me and cost me money to defend myself.
The lawyers and crooks who tried that tactic in 2013-14 weren’t very successful. For anyone who was around then and read the Mesquite Citizen Journal (MCJ), it didn’t work then and it’s not going to work now.
When I owned and published the MCJ, I was hit with six subpoenas asking me to do basically what Wolf Creek is trying to have me do now. That is, forfeit my right and your right to a free press.
I reported on the civil and criminal lawsuits against the former Water District manager, former hydrologist and a private businessman who tried to get away with stealing millions of dollars’ worth of your water for their millions of dollars in personal gain. It cost me $27,000 of my own money to prove the Media Shield Law means what it says.
Two of them went to jail.
I don’t intend to spend that much money now. But I do intend to keep doing my job and relying on the law to protect me from breaking the public trust.
Ask why Wolf Creek isn’t subpoenaing current board members who actually had a vote and a say on the issue.
But unlike other politicians Wolf Creek paid to be snitches and mouthpieces, I will never be anything more than a reporter who believes that you have a right to know.
I’ll do my best to help fulfill that right but you need to start asking why Wolf Creek thinks its money is better spent to violate that right.
Barbara Ellestad is a reporter for Mesquite Local News.
All editorials, Letters to the Editor, columns and comments are the sole opinions of the authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of Mesquite Local News.