Mediation in MLLA case begins

It’s time to put up or shut up for Mammoth in its judgment battle with Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition, but the town isn’t exactly quite ready to shut up and surrender.

Rather, the state-mandated mediation process has begun, even though MLLA has twice refused to participate.

In a presentation to the Town Council Wednesday, Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez said 16 of 44 creditors and/or “interested parties” have agreed to participate.

She said the Town would pay for the costs of the mediator, which could be up to $150,000.

She said “almost all” of the parties to mediation have agreed to make the process non-confidential, but she has not heard a peep from MLLA since last December.

On the line is how Mammoth is to pay a judgment of $42 million, incurred when it exhausted its legal defense in the case.

Actual mediation (technically, “neutral evaluation”) may start by the end of April, she said.

At the council’s regular meeting on May 2, May 16, June 6 and June 20, the council and public will hear updates on the process.

During the week of May 7, she said, the council will conduct a “special meeting” to discuss the judgment, as well as details of the 2012-2013 budget.

Marysheva-Martinez revealed the schedule as part of a detailed, but crisp, presentation that she called “Town Budget 101”—a detailed breakdown of how the town spends its money, how cash flows and reserve funding work and which funds are restricted and which ones are not.

In all, she walked audience members through a process that the council already knows.

It took her just 20 minutes, and lasted 19 PowerPoint pages that accompanied her presentation.

There were no public comments on the presentation, in spite of a Council Chambers that was about three-quarters full.