Court does not dismiss case against Granby Ranch’s owner
A court has maintained a number of claims the Granby Ranch Metropolitan District has made in a lawsuit against the owners of Granby Ranch.
Last year, Granby Ranch Metropolitan District, a homeowner-controlled metro district, filed suit against the group of entities associated with the Granby Ranch development.
Longstanding agreements in the Granby Ranch subdivision required all owners pay a one-time $10,000 amenity fee as part of a community lease purchase agreement. This pool of fees was to be used by Headwaters Metropolitan District, a developer-controlled metro district, to finance the eventual purchase of the amenities, including the ski and golf resorts at Granby Ranch.
With this agreement signed 15 years ago and 500-600 properties purchased in the Granby Ranch area, homeowners had already paid millions of dollars into the pool.
“In summary, the lawsuit intended … to honor the original intent of the parties that the recreational amenities be owned by a public entity that would manage them on behalf of the residents of Granby Ranch and the town of Granby,” Granby Ranch Metropolitan District President Matt Girard said.
Granby Ranch’s former developer ended up in foreclosure, with the development and its associated amenities going to GP Granby Holdings, an associate of Granby Ranch’s former lender, Granby Prentice.
In September 2020, GP Granby Holdings asserted in a letter to homeowners that the lease purchase agreement with Headwaters Metropolitan District had been terminated at the time of Granby Ranch’s foreclosure in August 2020. GP Granby Holdings has also changed their name to Gray Jay Ventures.
In amended filings, Granby Ranch Metro District added as defendants Granby Prentice and Redwood Capital Finance, the original holder of the deed of trust with Granby Ranch’s former developer. The claim against Redwood has been dismissed after Granby Ranch Metro District failed to serve Redwood an amended complaint.
After the lawsuit was filed, Granby Ranch changed hands again, this time to current developer GR Terra. The developer asked to be added as defendants to this litigation, which Granby Ranch Metro District agreed to do, according to Girard.
Legal representation of the various defendants did not respond to an emailed request for comment, except for GR Terra.
“We are pleased that the court has dismissed many of GRMD’s claims at this early stage before GR Terra has answered the lawsuit and before discovery has commenced,” attorney David Richardson said.
The defendants made various motions to dismiss the suit through August of last year, with the court finally issuing rulings on these requests on Jan. 28.
In response to the defendant’s motions filed to dismiss the lawsuit, District Court Judge Mary Hoak dismissed a few claims, but also found that Granby Ranch Metro District had properly presented its case in other areas.
In regard to the lease purchase agreement, the court agreed with Granby Ranch Metro District’s position that the metro district is a third party beneficiary of the agreements and therefore has the ability to enforce the lease purchase agreement.
The court also agreed that the lease purchase agreement is a covenant running with the land, disagreeing with the developer’s claim that the foreclosure had terminated that agreement.
With these, the court additionally found that Granby Ranch Metro District properly stated a claim for breach of contract by the entities as it relates to these agreements.
Some motions to dismiss were upheld, in addition to the one with Redwood. The court granted Gray Jay, Granby Prentice and GR Terra’s motion to dismiss to Granby Ranch Metro District’s claims for relief for tortious interference and breach of good faith and fair dealing.
The court also dismissed the count of breach of good faith and fair dealing against Headwaters Metro District.
“We will be responding to the remaining claims and filing counterclaims this week,” Richardson said. “We remain confident in our legal arguments and will vigorously prosecute and defend our claims as discovery commences.”
Girard said Granby Ranch Metro District’s board will be considering next steps at their meeting on Friday.
“I am very optimistic that based on these rulings, the other side will ‘come to the table’ to discuss our court-recognized clear legal rights in these agreements that have been ignored by all defendants to date,” Girard said. “Hopefully we can work through a resolution that is agreeable to all the parties without additional litigation, thus allowing all parties to move on.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional comments from the attorney for GR Terra.
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