Judge in Tooele vacates sale of Miller Motorsports Park to Chinese company

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TOOELE COUNTY, Utah -- During oral arguments in a lawsuit regarding the proposed sale of Miller Motorsports Park to Mitime Investment and Development Group, a judge in Tooele County has ordered that the sale be vacated.

Now that Judge Robert Adams has ordered the sale vacated, the property could be up for auction again--giving bidders another chance at the property.

Tooele County voted back in October to sell Miller Motorsports Park to the Chinese company, which stated they planned to make the sports park an international destination and would be bringing in a huge influx of money to the area.

However, one of the losing bidders in the sale process--Center Point Management LLC--filed a lawsuit in September alleging the sale was illegal because it violated county rules. Andrew Cartwright told FOX 13 News in September that they have offered $27 million for the property, but the county decided to sell to Mitime for about $20 million.

The lawsuit alleged the sale was illegal, as county ordinances prohibit the sale of county property for anything less than full and adequate consideration.

"The county did not act in good faith in selling the property," an attorney for the plaintiffs said in court Thursday.

Officials with Tooele County had  previously stated they decided to go ahead with the sale at a lower initial offer because Mitime promised to invest more into the property in the future.

“One specific number they threw in during the negotiations was 270 million dollars of additional investment in the property itself over the next decade,” said Tooele County Commissioner Shawn Milne in August.

However, attorneys for the plaintiff challenged that position, saying Thursday: "Grandiose plans are irrelevant: only money matters."

An attorney for the county argues that the initial offer is not the end of considerations and that the county must look at the big picture.

"The county can dispose of its property anyway it likes," the attorney for the county said during Thursday's hearing. The attorney added the county's job is to find the buyer who is, "the most viable. The one who could keep the track running."

A Tooele County Commissioner declined to comment on the ruling Thursday outside of court.

The timeframe for the sale is unclear. The property could go through another bidding process, or it could be listed for sale at a set price. The county could also choose to keep the property and lease it out. Further information on those proceedings are expected in the coming days.

Center Point Management LLC tells FOX 13 News they are prepared to offer as much as $28.1 million for the property this time around.

"Even though we won, its not really a victory," Cartwright told FOX 13 Thursday. "The idea of fighting to pay more money... we just want to be treated fairly."

Cartwright said he is OK with being unpopular in the area as a result of the lawsuit.

"I would feel so much joy for Tooele if they get way more than I'm willing to pay," he said. "Nothing would give me more joy. Maybe nobody in Tooele would thank me, and that's fine: I could live with that, but you know what? I gotta live with myself, and that would make me feel good. Real good."

18 comments

  • craig smith

    It seems like just a few years ago Tooele didn’t know how to fund their fair, or some of their county retirement program obligations so why were they considering the sale of county property at a significantly lower price than its assessed value? Sounds like a fishy arrangement to me. I say follow the money you may find there was a bribe or other incentive thrown in to make the deal attractive to county officials. I’m glad the judge blocked the sale. I don’t think we need investors from foreign countries in our back yard when better bids are coming from closer to home.

    • Riley pocock

      Except when the foreign company is going to expand the race track and help the community of racing. while the butt hurt company Is panning on leveling it and building houses.

    • Travis

      When the Chinese company hired someone who actually knows how to run a racetrack, while the other guy knows nothing about it, that tells me that the Chinese company had the desire to keep the track running. You can’t put homes by the racetrack and expect nothing to happen to the track. Look at all the new homes that get built by the prison, refineries, Stericycle. What happened to them? They started complaining and the companies are now moving to accommodate the homeowners that knew what was there BEFORE they built. The same will happen with the track. I attended many of the meetings where the sale of MMP was discussed and it was agreed by a majority of people in those meetings the Mitime was the best deal for the county.

  • bob

    Promises of future investment don’t make the LAW disappear. The judge did the right thing.

    And those “promises” are NOT actual contracts.

  • Finny Wiggen

    Waste of time! The same people selling the property are the people who write the ordinances. One thing you learn quickly in business is don’t tick off the people who make the decisions that affect you.

    The county will simply change the ordinances and then sell it, once again, to the same Chinese firm.

    As well they should! This poor loser is just wasting everyone’s time.

  • Mary

    I only have $20 in my pocket right now, but I promise to put $10 million a year into the park for the next 10 years. I swear, i’m good for it. They should sell to me.

  • mike

    As a country we need to stop selling our land to foreigners. Many countries don’t allow this to happen and we shouldn’t either.

  • Travis

    The deal with Mitime was the best deal for the long term. The person that Mitime hired to run the track was the original GM for Larry Miller and he also designed the racetrack. Cartwright is just upset that he couldn’t build more homes around the track which would eventually be forced to close as the numerous complaints from the condo owners would escalate, just like when people build homes next to train track, airports, and other undesirable locations and then complain about what was there BEFORE they bought their homes.

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