Carson City officials forming agreement with auto dealers | RecordCourier.com

Carson City officials forming agreement with auto dealers

by Jill Lufrano, R-C News Service

Carson City officials have plans to sign an agreement with local auto dealers to discuss developing an auto mall or auto row within city limits, but they offered few details about the deal.

With discussions in the works for months, city officials said the agreement might be ready by Thursday, when the Board of Supervisors may consider approving the deal.

“What we hopefully will come forward with will protect dealers in Carson City and create an auto mall or auto row development that will bolster and substantially increase sales tax on an annual basis,” said Supervisor Richard Staub. “It’s a good plus for all parties involved.”

Staub and Supervisor Shelly Aldean were involved in discussions with Michael Hohl, president of Michael Hohl Motor Co.; Dink Cryer; Jim Cryer and city management.

Discussion with dealers have been ongoing since city supervisors shot down a deal in April offered by Princeton Development Corp. to develop an auto mall at off of Hot Springs Road. At the meeting, supervisors decided not to support endorsing a $27.5 million incentive package that the California developer said was needed for the auto mall to make financial sense to dealers.

After the deal fell through, Hohl and Dink Cryer put a winning bid on a 144-acre parcel auctioned by the Bureau of Land Management in northern Douglas County in August. The $14.6 million purchase will not be finalized until Carson City’s federal lawsuit against the sale is decided, possibly by early 2004.

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Hohl filed with the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office on July 12, 2002, to incorporate as Carson Auto Mall, LLC.

The city, meanwhile, has continued talking with dealers about keeping their businesses within city limits. Auto sales now make up 35 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue.

Staub was selected to represent the board in discussion with auto dealers after the April meeting. As an attorney, Staub is paid counsel to several auto dealers, including Hohl, but said his involvement does not pose a conflict of interest and he has disclosed the past connection.

Hohl was an investor in a company that involved a number of auto dealers throughout the state, for which Staub is legal counsel.

Staub said he resigned in June from Associated Insurance Co. and Auto Risk Management Association, held also by Hohl and Robert Vogel, a Carson business owner of Pro Group Management.

Paperwork will be filed soon with the state to remove Staub’s name from the companies, he said.

“I’m no longer involved,” Staub said. “I have no financial involvement in any of these companies.”

His experience with auto dealers and his criticism of the earlier auto mall proposal prompted board members to ask Staub to represent them in the latest dealings, he said.

City Manager Linda Ritter, who said she was not aware of Staub’s involvement with auto dealer clients, said she couldn’t discuss specifics of the impending agreement, but hoped to release a joint statement Wednesday with the auto dealers.

The cooperative agreement, an idea the city has been working on for a month, would be a first step to developing a deal, Ritter said.

“There could be a few binding things in it,” she said.

Aldean said she was encouraged by the talks, which she described as “very cordial and cooperative.”

Contact Jill Lufrano at 881-1217 or jlufrano@nevadaappeal.com