Crestone Eagle, July 2003:
Sale of Baca Ranch postponed again
by David Nicholas
Citing delays due to continuing legal matters,
Steve Chaney, Superintendent of the Great Sand Dunes National
Monument and Preserve, announced that the new date for the
sale of the Baca Ranch from Vaca partners to the Nature Conservancy
is now March 31, 2004. The sale of the Baca Ranch completes
the process for the new National Park designated by Congress
in October 2000.
Speaking at the first Crestone meeting of the newly created
Advisory Council for the Great Sand Dunes National Park, June
26, Chaney said that American Water Development, Inc (AWDI)
was still seeking appeal avenues against the judgment handed
down by Judge O. John Kuenhold earlier this year. The judgment
upheld a binding arbitration decision made in 2003, awarding
AWDI $694,000 for their 10% interest in Cabeza de Vaca Land
& Cattle Company, a holding company for assorted partners
interested in exporting water from under the Baca Ranch. The
judgment also required that AWDI, which holds a lien note
on the ranch, withdraw the lien so the sale of the Baca Ranch
to the Nature Conservancy could be completed.
Chaney said that the remaining partner with legal issues
against the Cabeza partnership, Peter Hornick, was set to
have his case heard sometime in October this year.
When asked what pressures this would place on the sale of
the ranch, given the high interest loans made by the Nature
Conservancy to raise the needed finance to purchase the ranch,
Chaney replied that actually, if anything, this would ease
it. Of the $31.1 million purchase price, the Federal Government
has paid approximately $20 million to the Conservancy. Chaney
also said, that the remaining money will likely be allocated
in the 2004 Federal Budget.
The $4 million promised by Yale University for its 50% interest
in Vaca Partners would probably occur after the sale, Chaney
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