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City must pay casino firm for abandoned street

Kelli Du Fresne

District Judge William Maddox on Thursday confirmed Carson City must pay Capital City Entertainment Inc. $125,000 plus interest for a street abandoned more than 15 years ago.

Company President Clark Russell has estimated the interest to be at least $250,000, although the company now must return to court to justify that amount.

“We’re very excited about it and elated the judge ruled in our favor,” said Todd Russell, attorney for Capital City Entertainment.

“The interest is based on the calculation of lawful interest allowed pursuant to the statutes. There are approximately 14 years worth of interest, I’d say principal and interest is somewhere in excess of $300,000.”

Russell said it is his guess the city will appeal, “but I’m not sure on what basis,” he said.

Capital City Entertainment, which owns the Carson Station and Pinon Plaza casinos, already had won a district court decision and two Nevada Supreme Court rulings supporting its arguments that it never should have paid for the portion of Ninth Street from Carson to Curry streets abandoned by the city in October 1988.

The property lies beneath the Carson Station’s north entrance.

In a separate but similar case, Maddox also ruled Thursday the city should not have charged City Center for a portion of Valley Street and barred Carson City from making a claim the statute of limitation has expired. City Center filed against the city’s motion to dismiss the Capital City Entertainment case, which was also denied.

No order for repayment was attached to Thursday’s rulings in the City Center case.

City Center paid the city $125,000 in April 1992 for a portion of Valley Street between William and John streets.

A case filed by the Carson Nugget in March 2000 raised similar claims, but was not addressed by Maddox on Thursday. In the 1970s, the Carson Nugget paid $222,000 for two sections of Spear Street and one block of Plaza Street.

In a March 2000 interview, Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Forsberg estimated total repayments could cost the city more than $1 million. City officials couldn’t be reached Thursday evening for comment.

Maddox has ordered Capital City Entertainment to submit to the court a number for payment including the principal of $125,000 plus interest. The order is to show the method used to calculate interest beginning in April 1989.

The city then has 10 days to object and submit its own calculations. Maddox will then decide a final amount to be paid by the city.

Forsberg said it will be up to Carson City Board of Supervisors to decide if the city will appeal the decision.

In the city’s 1996 abandonment of Eighth Street for construction of the Plaza Hotel, the city found the streets in historic downtown area had been given over to the city at no charge by the federal government when the townsite was formed in the mid-1800s. According to state law, the city cannot charge for property it has not paid for.