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Case Against Virgin Valley Water District Rescheduled. Depositions Shine Light On Water Board Pricing Practices.

Virgin District Water Board Members.

The April 6, 2020 jury trial in the case of Paradise Canyon (DBA as the Wolf Creek Golf Club) vs The Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) is now scheduled for 9:30 a.m. June 15, in the Eighth Judicial District Court, Las Vegas, NV. Judge Timothy Williams reset the trial to allow the parties to take more depositions and continue to pursue motions.

In this case, the owners of Wolf Creek challenge the claim by the Virgin Valley Water Board (VVWB) that they have an absolute right to increase the rates for publicly owned Virgin River irrigation water by 500%.

Each Deposition taken in the case exposes the impact of this “absolute power,” claim on all water board customers. For example:

The Deposition of Wesley Smith, Virgin Valley Water District the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) revealed that the acquisition of highly polluted Virgin River water shares by the VVWB contributed to an increase of the public’s debt to 35 % in 2010 and a 94 % increase in 2015 for the approximately 10,000 culinary (underground) water customers served by the Virgin Valley Water Board (VVWB).

When Wolf Creek attorneys took depositions from Virgin Valley Water District Manager Kevin Brown and Mesquite Irrigation Company (MIC) President Kelby Hughes, they found that their statements contradicted statements made to the court by VVWB attorney Jedediah (Bo) Bingham.

Depositions revealed that on May 7, Bingham typed up a declaration from Kenyon Leavitt in which Leavitt made unsubstantiated claims about water rates and said that there was pressure from the owner of Wolf Creek to lower rates. Leavitt withdrew those comments in another declaration taken on October 2 by the attorney for Wolf Creek.

When the Wolf Creek attorney asked Leavitt if he ever told anyone that the Water Board would have a sole and absolute distraction to change the rate in the future to the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) lease rate? Leavitt said “no” and admitted that, at that time, it did not occur to him that the local businesses would be forced to pay the SNWA rate.

The upcoming release of the Deposition of SNWA employee Colby Pellegrino will likely reveal that the value SNWA places of Virgin River water are based upon SNWA’s ability to convert that water to domestic (potable water) use.  Without conversion to potable use, river water has no economic value to the SNWA.

It bears repeating that the true cost of irrigation water is 1) the cost to deliver and 2) the maintain the infrastructure. The VVWD does not maintain or develop any infrastructure for the delivery of irrigation water. If there are costs to the water district, they are the marginal bookkeeping costs to collect unearned lease funds. The entire infrastructure costs are born by the user.

DISCOVERY TO BE COMPLETED.

The parties anticipate several more depositions and may pursue motions to exceed the ten (10) deposition limit imposed by court rules.

Served Name Note
11/01/19 Plaintiff’s Deposition of Bill
Tanner/PMK City of Mesquite
Served – reschedule
11/01/19 Plaintiff’s Deposition of Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Colby Pellegrino Served – reschedule
11/01/19 Plaintiff’s Deposition of VVWD Board President Nephi Julian Amended depo notice -reschedule
pending VVWD’s Deposition of former
VVWD General Manager Ken Rock
Service pending
12/13/119 VVWD’s Deposition of Chad
Clemetson
Amended depo notice – reschedule

 DISCOVERY COMPLETED TO DATE.

  1. The parties have completed document discovery via third party subpoenas and  requests for production.
  1. The parties have completed written discovery via interrogatories and requests for  admissions.
  1. The parties have completed expert witness discovery via initial reports, rebuttal reports, and expert depositions.
  1. The parties have nearly completed deposition discovery, via the following   depositions:
  • Plaintiff’s Deposition of VVWD General Manager Kevin Brown;
  • Plaintiff’s Deposition of Mesquite Irrigation Company’s Kelby Hughes;
  • VVWD’s Deposition of Cory Clemetson;
  • Plaintiff’s Deposition of the PMK Virgin Valley Water District;
  • VVWD’s Deposition of former Wolf Creek employee Rob Fuller;
  • Plaintiff’s Deposition of VVWD’s expert Craig Morley, GAA, MNAA;
  • VVWD’s Deposition of Plaintiff’s expert Glenn Anderson, MAI;
  • Plaintiff’s Deposition of the PMK Mesquite Irrigation Company, Steve King;
  • Plaintiff’s Deposition of former VVWD board member Kenyon Leavitt;
  • VVWD’s Deposition of former VVWD board member Sandra Ramaker;
  • Plaintiff’s Deposition of former VVWD General Manager Ken Rock;
  • Plaintiff’s Deposition of VVWD’s Wesley Smith;
  • Plaintiff’s Deposition of former VVWD board member Mark McEwen;
  • VVWD’s Deposition of former Wolf Creek employee Kathy Bussman;

Plaintiff’s Deposition of Mesquite Irrigation Company’s Kraig Hafen.

About Author

Michael McGreer Mesquite, Nevada
Dr. Michael Manford McGreer is managing editor of Nevada-today.com and writes on issues that impact public policy.

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