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Las Vegas Taxpayers May Have to Pay Millions to Fund City’s Case Losses

Las Vegas Taxpayers May Have to Pay Millions to Fund City’s Case Losses

Las Vegas Taxpayers May Have to Pay Millions to Fund City’s Case Losses

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The law is impartial most of the time, and nobody currently enjoys that benefit more than the plaintiff in the Badlands legal fights. The courts have been ruling in favor of the plaintiff, imposing cash obligations on the Las Vegas government.

This has resulted in a significant financial burden for the government, which must now pay millions in restitution, including attorney fees. Unfortunately, none of the ways they have to generate that kind of money is fair to the people of Las Vegas. 

Meet the Plaintiff

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The plaintiff is developer Yohan Lowie, who had a vision to transform the Badlands golf course into condominiums and homes for the people of Las Vegas. He sued the city for what they did to impede his plans, a move that was born out of his deep commitment to the city’s development and also his company’s progress. 

The Government Abused Its Power

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To prevent Lowie from enacting his plans, the city’s government went above and beyond, causing the aggrieved developer to take the matter to court. Even then, the officials resisted. Never mind that the land fell within accurate residential zoning and was already an abandoned piece of land.

They repeatedly slammed him with permit denial to prevent him from beginning work, even against the advice they received from a planning commission and their own staff.

A Land-Grabber Government

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In the legal battle that ensued, Lowie has been winning, with most courts ruling in his favor. Just last month, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled against the City of Las Vegas, agreeing that it illegally took over Lowie’s land.

It was a unanimous ruling. The Supreme Court also upheld a previous District Court ruling with a verdict that sentenced the City to pay $48 million in restitution. Once attorney fees and interest are factored in, that amount could increase to $63 million.

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A Race To Generate the Funds

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The City officials are slowly realizing they may have bitten off more than they can chew. Especially now that the court cases have been going against them, and they have to pay millions in settlements.

There have been attempts to raise the funds by moving $60 million out of the city’s general fund, customarily reserved for services and salaries. As it stands, the city’s general fund reserve is just over $200 million. 

Settlement Will Wipe Out The City’s Reserves

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Courts that favored Lowie in cases brought before them have enforced more than $230 million, meaning the City will have to pay more than $60 million when all the court cases are entirely resolved. The City’s general reserves can’t cover that, which means it will likely come out of taxpayer pockets. 

There Are Also Attorney Fees To Worry About

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Aside from settlements, the City officials also have to pay the law firms they hired to represent them in their lost court cases. It does not matter that those lawyers failed; they still have to get paid, and their fees will cost the City at least $6 million. 

POLL—Should the Government Increase Taxes on the Wealthy To Reduce Economic Inequality?

Interest Accrues Until Payment Is Made

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The settlement fees are debilitating, and the law firm fees make things worse, but that is not something that all city officials have to worry about. According to experts following the case keenly, the longer it takes the government to cough out the money they now owe Lowie, the more interest they will have to pay.

That amount is running into hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they have yet to pay it, which has even their supporters wondering what is happening behind the scenes. 

Who Will Suffer For the Government’s Folly?

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Many wonder who will pay the millions the city now owes Lowie. While city officials have not clarified this, they have hinted at the possibility that it will come from taxpayer pockets. The experts certainly think that is what they will do, but no confirmation has been made. 

Are There Other Ways To Pay?

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The taxpayers can shoulder the burden if subjected to higher taxes, which is not the best, but other options are not much better. The city’s only alternatives are to cut services or lay off staff to make up for the deficit. They could also spend the city reserves and sell real estate. 

ALSO READ: CTA Attacks Newsom With Ad Over California’s School Crisis

Mayoral Candidates Have Weighed In

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This problem has leaked into this year’s mayoral contest in the City, with many of those vying for the post sharing their thoughts. Councilwoman Victoria Seaman has been very vocal and has implied that taxpayers will suffer the brunt of it.

Mayoral candidate Eric Medlin has also shed light on what may be the root of the issue. Medlin believes that the government only impeded Lowie because they were bought off by the wealthy Queensridge residents who didn’t want Lowie developing that particular piece of land.

Many Are Unhappy

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Locals and city officials have expressed frustration over what is happening, especially the city’s attitude towards settling with Lowie. Many know taxpayers may have to carry the burden, and others are angry because that money could have been better used for the good of the city. 

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