State high court rejects suit of would-be Wal-Mart building owner | NevadaAppeal.com

State high court rejects suit of would-be Wal-Mart building owner

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

The Nevada Supreme Court has rejected the lawsuit of a Carson City businessman who said two men tried to sabotage his agreement to buy the former Wal-Mart building four years ago.

Jerry Vaccaro of Capitol City Liquidators filed the lawsuit for damages “in excess of $10,000” with the Carson City District Court in February 2003 against real estate broker Mike Giusti and businessman Ron Weddell. He accused the men of working to “interfere with and frustrate” his contract with Wal-Mart Realty.

Vaccaro appealed the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court after the lower court rejected it. The supreme court upheld the decision.

Vaccaro signed an agreement with Wal-Mart Realty in October 2002 to buy the building for $3.9 million but did not meet payment deadlines, according to court documents.

Giusti initially worked as a broker to get the building for Vaccaro and bring in tenants. He said he started to get suspicious, however, when Vaccaro wasn’t able to make payments toward buying the building.

Though the lawsuit didn’t name a specific amount of compensation, Vaccaro could have been awarded millions of dollars because of appraisals on the building.

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The building, fully leased, was appraised for as much as $18 million.

Giusti said he was surprised when Vaccaro appealed the lawsuit to the supreme court because he didn’t think it was a solid case. It was a “great relief to be vindicated,” though, he said.

Weddell had been approached to finance the sale of the building to Vaccaro. He said he got suspicious when he saw Vaccaro wouldn’t have enough parking spaces. Weddell, now head of Pharmacy International in Carson City, said he was never worried about the “frivolous” suit because he also never thought Vaccaro had a case.

“The man (Vaccaro) is insane,” he said.

Vaccaro declined to comment on the case and referred comments to his attorney, Robert Dickey, who said he would file for another hearing in the supreme court.

In his appeal, he argues that the court overlooked that fact that Weddell planned “to take over the valid and existing contract with Wal-Mart” through “intentional and improper conduct.”

The building, which has been empty since Wal-Mart left in 2002, was bought by Max Baer Jr. in 2003 for $4.5 million to use for his Beverly Hillbillies-themed casino. Baer sold it to developer Robert Rothe in May for $8.5 million. Rothe plans to bring Burlington Coat Factory and Sportsman’s Warehouse to the building.

Baer is now trying to open the casino in Douglas County, a project that Vaccaro openly criticizes.

Vaccaro has also been active in other issues such as calling for two Douglas County officials to resign over redevelopment plans and pushing Carson City to prosecute a former supervisor who has a business, which is next to his business, on federal land designated for recreation.

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.