A Placer County judge ruled against Squaw Valley Resort, CA after the company attempted to sanction Sierra Watch to collect $226,893 in attorney fees from the environmental nonprofit organization, reports the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
“We thought their case was frivolous,” said Ron Cohen, president of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, said this week. “The judge said twice in the ruling that there was no evidence.”
The sanction was sought against Sierra Watch after it had failed in a lawsuit against Placer County and Alterra Mountain, Co., which owns Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, over a redevelopment project, that claimed the county had violated the Brown Act by approving the project. A judge ruled in August, no violation occurred.
“From our perspective, it’s clear they filed this motion as a way to attempt to silence Sierra Watch and to keep the public from being heard,” said Tom Mooers, executive director of Sierra Watch. “For years what we’ve seen from Alterra has been a consistent attempt to steamroll Squaw Valley and secure as much development as they can,” he said.
In response, recently appointed COO Ron Cohen, defended their actions, claiming that the point is not to silence them and that they are encouraging an open conversation throughout the community to start talking about how they all move forward.
“Let’s work together here. These fights don’t result in wins for anyone,” he said
In August, a judge ruled in favor of Placer County against a lawsuit filed by Sierra Watch which claimed the county had violated the Brown Act when approving the huge 25-year village redevelopment project at Squaw Valley. The Brown Act ensures the public’s right to participate in the government’s decision-making process.