Carson City officials: Charges about Empire Ranch water false
Carson City officials say developer Dwight Millard’s lawsuit incorrectly accuses the city of denying him the water to serve his Empire Ranch Golf Course.
According to the petition in federal bankruptcy court, the city is buying water from Minden and providing it to others including its own golf courses to augment the effluent water to the detriment of Empire Ranch, according to court documents.
But Mayor Bob Crowell told the county Democratic convention last weekend the city is actually buying the Douglas County water to dilute its existing water supply. He said doing that lowers the levels of arsenic and uranium in Carson City’s water supply to a point where the water doesn’t require treatment.
He told the convention delegates doing so made it unnecessary for Carson City to upgrade its water treatment plant.
“We built a pipeline from Douglas County to Carson City to blend our water and meet safe drinking water standards,” Crowell said. “We saved $4-$6 million by not having to build a treatment plant.”
District Attorney Jason Woodbury said Friday there are “substantial misrepresentations” in the petition filed in federal bankruptcy court.
“They are making connections that do not exist,” Woodbury said. “Carson City has always made every effort to supply Empire Ranch.”
Woodbury said he couldn’t go into detail about the issue at this point but when the city responds to Millard’s filing, “we will do so with absolute clarity and absolute accuracy and provide evidence of what Carson City is doing.”
Millard filed for an injunction in his Empire Ranch Golf Course bankruptcy case accusing the city of refusing to provide him the water he’s legally entitled to to serve the golf course.
Woodbury refers to a contract with the city saying the course can ask for up to 1,365-acre feet of reclaimed effluent water to supply the course. The action says water is a real property asset belonging to the golf course and Carson City should be ordered to provide the water.
City officials, however, argue the water contract is personal property not real property and the real property interest in the reclaimed water actually belongs to the city.
Ownership of the water is important in determining the value of the golf course property.