Off Beat: Is it time to pay up?
You may remember the big lawsuit that was filed against the Yuba County Water Agency by Western Water. There was a lot at stake, perhaps more than $100 million.
At issue was water sales from the Yuba River and if water from the Yuba Goldfields was being sold. And there was a 1991 agreement that supposedly covered these issues.
Western Water contended it didn't get the money it was owed under that '91 pact. Somebody had to decipher what that agreement meant.
Initially filed in San Diego County, the case was transferred to Sacramento County Superior Court, where, after two years of litigation and a court trial earlier this year, a Sacramento judge ruled for the Water Agency.
No pay day for Western Water.
But the case isn't over. Since the Water Agency prevailed — Western Water has filed an appeal — it can try to collect attorney's fees and costs.
The agency's lawyers took another swipe at Western Water in their motion for fees and costs.
"Western Water's litigation tactic was to take advantage of the passage of time and faded memories and employ experts to describe the hydrology of the Goldfields in a way it believed fit its interpretation of the 1991 Agreement. The goal from the beginning was to recreate history and misrepresent the hydrology of the Goldfields, all for its financial gain," the agency's lawyers wrote.
So how much are the Water Agency's lawyers asking for?
It's a cool $1.33 million for two years of litigation work.
In their courts papers, the Water Agency's lawyers say the agency offered to settle the litigation for $275,001 in June 2010.
"Western Water refused to lower its initial demand and continued to request multi-millions of dollars for resolution," the Water Agency said in its motion.
How much litigation was involved? Well, according the agency's lawyers, there was more than 100,000 documents and 39 depositions.
When Freedom Communications sold its remaining newspapers, including this one, back in June, the price of the deal wasn't disclosed.
But earlier this month, a Boston commercial finance company announced it had helped finance the deal, providing a senior secured term loan.
The press release from Crystal Finance LLC didn't provide the loan amount. Is that dollar figure available anywhere?
Indeed, it is. It's filed in the Yuba County Clerk-Recorder's Office as a deed of trust.
The amount? The loan's principal amount is up to $45 million for the new owners of Freedom.