Judge urges Parks to resolve dispute outside courtroom

With six lawyers sitting before him, District Judge Dave Gamble last week encouraged members of the pioneer Park family to resolve their dispute outside the courtroom.

At the same time, Gamble denied a motion Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Bruce Park, former president of Park Cattle Co., to dissolve the company with extensive holdings in Stateline and Carson Valley.

"The reason we've had this exercise today is to let participants know they have very, very good reasons to resolve this outside this environment," Gamble said at the conclusion of a 90-minute hearing.

"There are more lawyers here than I care to count," he said.

Each side was represented by teams of attorneys from Minden, Reno and San Francisco.

Bruce Park is suing Park Cattle Co., his sisters Jeanne Park Blach of Elko, Kay Park Seeliger of Reno and cousin Margo Lourdeaux Kelly of Orinda, Calif., claiming they engineered his ouster as president of the company.

Earlier in the proceeding, Gamble denied defendants' request for a change of venue.

The sisters and cousin claimed that since they resided outside Douglas County the case should be heard in Washoe County.

But plaintiff Park successfully countered that the company's extensive Nevada holdings were in Douglas County.

Property includes the Tillman Center in the Gardnerville Ranchos, Edgewood Water Co., Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, a 5,000-acre ranch and two homes at Lake Tahoe. Park Cattle Co. leases land at Stateline to Harvey's, Caesars Tahoe and the Horizon Resort.

Park served as president and chairman of the Park Cattle Co. from 1992, when his father Brooks Park resigned, until 2004. In the lawsuit, Bruce Park states that his sisters told him to resign or he would be removed from his position as president and chairman.

In exchange for his resignation, Park would receive the long-term position of ranch operations manager. According to the lawsuit, Park claims if he did not comply he would have been voted out and not receive any position with the company.

That position paid $20,000 for six months until November 2004 when the pay was reduced to $13,000 a month and Park said he was forced to take leave.

The pay was cut to $5,000 a month and Park ordered to stay out of company facilities without prior authorization of the company president.

The lawsuit asks that the company be placed in receivership and dissolved or that Park's shares be repurchased for full-market value.

Park maintained he has a 24 percent interest in the company while the plaintiffs allege he has no stock.

The Park family homesteaded land in the Carson Valley in 1871.


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