After a two-year legal battle with the city of
Carson, James Goldstein is nearing his goal of subdividing Colony Cove
Dozens of seniors showed up at the Carson Planning
Commission on Tuesday night to register their objections to the
proposal, which will have the effect of eliminating city rent control
at the mobile home park.
Goldstein, who bought the park in 2006, stands to make a
substantial profit both from increased rent and from the sale of
"It's financial abuse," said Bonnie Coombs, a Colony Cove
resident. "It's not right. It's not fair. This man doesn't need it.
He's just a mean person. I don't think he likes people, period."
Though the commission unanimously rejected the subdivision,
it seems likely that the Carson City Council will be forced to approve
it sometime in October.
The city has fought to protect rent control at Colony Cove
and at neighboring Carson Harbor Village, which Goldstein also owns.
But in three lawsuits, a judge has consistently held that the city
cannot prevent the subdivisions from going forward.
Goldstein's attorneys are now seeking $150 million in
damages from the city due to the delay. The City Council has voted to
seek a settlement, which will likely result in both parks being
subdivided and sold off to mobile home owners space by space.
In a similar case in Palm Springs, the city agreed to pay Goldstein $937,500 to settle a damages claim. That
case, involving the El Dorado Mobile Home Park, resulted in an appeals
court precedent that has allowed park owners across the state to
subdivide their parks.
Local mobile home residents are pinning their hopes on a
pending ruling in a similar case in Sonoma County. Residents are
watching the appeals court closely in hopes that it reverses the
precedent from Palm Springs.
"I hope this is the first time they fail and we win," said
Colony Cove resident Peggy Benson. "It might be a beginning for
everyone else in our predicament."
But Goldstein's attorneys have said they expect the court
to uphold the earlier precedent. Attorney Richard Close argued that the
city should have approved the conversion of Carson Harbor Village two
At the time, Goldstein was offering a considerable
incentive package to entice residents to accept the subdivision,
including discounts and infrastructure improvements. But the residents
voted it down, prompting the council to reject the deal and fight a
losing battle in court.
"If the city had resolved Carson Harbor Village favorably,
there would be millions of dollars of benefits to Carson Harbor Village
and presumably Colony Cove as well," Close said. "Now you have huge
damages to the city and no benefits to the residents."
If the residents get anything now, it will probably come
from the city. Under that scenario, the city would end up paying twice:
to Goldstein, for damages and attorneys' fees, and to the seniors, to
soften the blow of the subdivision.
City Attorney Bill Wynder said he hopes to have a settlement before the council takes up the Colony Cove issue in October.
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