PUC lawsuit lifts veil of secrecy

Documents in a lawsuit filed by Pacific Union College over a land sale that fell through reveal some secrets regarding the college's prospective land dealings. Save Rural Angwin (SRA), an anti-development group, helped put an initiative called Measure U on the ballot in 2012, which would downzone land south of the commercial center in Angwin to prevent it from being developed. According to SRA member Volker Eisele, there is proof in the disclosures of PUC's lawsuit that prove the college was not straightforward with voters, as PUC designed its campaign around protecting its property rights. Read about the details below.

In a long-suspected move, Pacific Union College agreed in early 2013 to sell a substantial portion of its land in the Upvalley village of Angwin to a company planning residential and vineyard development, according to legal documents filed in Napa County Superior Court.

But the land sale fell through shortly afterward, and the Seventh-day Adventist college is now suing the development company in Napa courts, alleging that the company may try to disrupt new plans the college has to sell land to an unidentified buyer.

Both sides are swapping allegations in court, with PUC aiming to keep its former partner, Sustainable Community Partners LLC, from placing a pending lawsuit notice on hundreds of acres of land in Angwin, preventing a potential sale.

PUC filed the complaint Dec. 18, eight days after Sustainable Community Partners allegedly threatened to record a “lis pendens,” or a notice of a pending lawsuit, against the property title, according to the complaint.

In response, Sustainable Community Partners alleges the college wrongfully backed out of the land sale deal, and used last-minute “gotcha” chicanery to keep it from successfully buying the land, according to court records.

Lawyers from the college and the development company are due before Superior Court Judge Diane Price on Wednesday. The college wants Price to issue a preliminary injunction against Sustainable Community Partners.

Sustainable Community Partners asserted in court documents filed Tuesday that PUC filed its complaint prematurely because the college does not know what Sustainable Community Partners’ claim will be or what relief it will seek.

Documents in the lawsuit, filed in December, lift a veil of secrecy that the college, President Heather Knight and top PUC officials have long kept over the college’s potential land dealings. (Read more)

Read the full article at Napa Valley Register.

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