The United States federal government filed a lawsuit case on Friday, September 1st, against the Clark County, alleging the county has cost the nation “tens of millions of dollars” by leasing the Bali Hai Golf Club for far less than its market value.
The lawsuit follows an August 18 letter from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) ordering the Clark County to pay a total of $75.5 million in underpaid rental fee for the Bali Hai Golf Club. In the letter, the DOJ attorney John Kresse said that a 2011 amendment to a tenancy between the Clark County and the professional sports gambler gambler Bill Walters — who was sentenced to five years behind bars and fined $10 million in July 2017 for masterminding a six-year insider-trading scheme with former Dean Foods Co. Chairman Tom Davis — set the real estate property’s $100,000 annual rental far below the fair market value, thereby violating the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act.
The County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said last week that the Clark County sent the new contract deal to the Bureau of Land Management for approval but have never heard back from them. The county has headed the BLM-owned property since way back in 1999 under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act.
“We dispute our liability for back rent but welcome discussing it further with the DOJ,” county spokesman Erik Pappa said in an email statement prior to the filed lawsuit.
According to the filed lawsuit, both the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act and the deed bearing the land directly required the county to rent the golf club at fair market value and to distribute 85 percent of the rental payment to the U.S. federal government to be used for environmental and conservation purposes in State of Nevada.
However, the lawsuit filed by the federal government claims that the Clark County did not acquired an estimation to regulate and influence the fair market rent of the Bali Hai Golf Club and instead leased 91 acres for a fixed rental of $100,000 annually, which the lawsuit said is less than 5 percent of fair market value.
Moreover, the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court of Las Vegas, seeks uncertain damages from the Clark County.