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Judge ends Polston restraining order

Posted: Friday, Oct 25th, 2013

Courier staff writer

ALAMOSA — Visiting Senior District Court Judge Scott B. Epstein dissolved the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on Friday morning issued against Dan Russell, and ordered the Alamosa Board of Education (ABOE), the Keep Polston Public (KPP) plaintiffs and the landowner to a mediation session before the court will take any further action on the lawsuit.

Russell, the ABOE and KPP must come together for a mediation session before Epstein reviews the case’s status on Thurs., Dec. 19 should the plaintiffs want to continue with the lawsuit, including additional discovery.

The KPP lawsuit challenges the ABOE’s May 9 decision to sell the Polston property – a 38-acre tract located on the Rio Grande at the intersection of Highways 17 and 160 – to Dan Russell to develop the Alamosa RV Resort on the Rio Grande, LLC at a below-market price after signing a non-binding, letter of intent with the Trust for Public Land (TPL), KPP’s partner and fiscal representative, to purchase the property for its appraised value of $750,000 in order to construct the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park (RGHLP).

The preliminary injunction (PI) hearing decision carried over from Thursday was the main focus of the litigation, and was not granted, voiding the TRO, because KPP did not prove they had a reasonable probability of prevailing, which the court quantifies in six elements that must all be satisfied to justify a PI.

The KPP had to demonstrate reasonable probability of success on the merits; a danger of real, immediate and irreparable injury, which may be prevented by injunctive relief; there is no plain, speedy and adequate remedy at law; the granting of the preliminary injunction will not disserve the public interest; the balance of equities favors entering an injunction; and the injunction will preserve the status quo pending a trial on the merits.

Epstein found KPP was able to satisfy half of the elements, but not all, especially what the court considers the probability of success on merits.

Ultimately, he said, the KPP was unable to prove a number of alleged Colorado Open Meeting Laws (COML) violations against the ABOE.

For the complete article see the 10-26-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-26-2013 paper.

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