Judge Overturns Sale of Miller Motorsports Park
A Utah judge has blocked the sale of Miller Motorsports Park to a Chinese investment firm because county commissioners may have illegally lowered the price to below fair-market value, KSL reported Thursday.
In a filing, Judge Robert Atkins said Tooele county officials tasked with selling the shuttered racetrack ignored higher bids to sell the racetrack for $20 million to Geely-backed Mitime Investment and Development Group. According to the report, county tax officials estimated the value of the track at $28.1 million.
A competing bidder, Center Point Management, said it offered $22.5 million for the park. The Wyoming-based company filed a lawsuit to stop the sale because they said county officials ignored their bid based on unverified promises by the Chinese group.
According to KSL, the county commissioned an appraisal after the lawsuit was filed by Center Point, which valued the track at $9 million. The judge noted that the appraisal wasn’t believable considering the timing and pending lawsuit.
Tooele County Commissioners said they were disappointed, but stopped short of saying they would appeal the decision.
“We are disappointed by the judge’s findings,” county Commissioner Shawn Milne said in a statement. “Tooele County is committed to bringing about the successful sale of the Miller Motorsports Park property. It is important to the citizens of the county that it remain a viable racetrack, and that the jobs and businesses associated with the facility, as well the revenue realized by the county and area businesses, remain intact. In light of the court’s decision, the county is considering several options to resolve this situation in both the short and long-term.”
The judge wrote that the sale was “an inappropriate attempt to circumvent the law and avoid the prospect of having to address a higher purchase offer from another willing purchaser.”
The order by the judge is the latest measure in an increasingly ugly fight between the Chinese investment group, competing bidders and county officials.
After Larry Miller, who owned one of the largest automobile dealership groups in the U.S. and the Utah Jazz, died in 2009, the future of the track bearing his name became increasingly uncertain. Miller built and maintained the world-class track, often at great personal expense. The track struggled to turn a profit, and in recent years, has struggled to attract big-name events to keep it afloat.
In May, when the Miller family walked away from the track — exercising an escape in its 99-year lease with the county — commissioners were left to sell the track. In August, the group announced the sale to Mitime, which is a subsidiary of Chinese automaker Geely, who also owns Volvo.
[h/t to John for the tip!]
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- Duane Baldinger Ya my cupcake Mailman will love it!
- Duane Baldinger Where can I send the cash? It's a surprise BDAY present for my cupcake Mailman. D Duane
- Art Vandelay Pour one out for the Motors Liquidation Corporation
- Bill Wade Norm, while true I'll leave you with this. My 2023 RAM is running Android 8 released in 2017.My wife's navigation on her GM truck is a 2021 release, I believe the latest. Android Auto seems to update very week or two. Now, which would you rather have? Anybody with a car a couple of years old NEVER sees any updates. Heck, if your TV is a few years old it's dead on updates. At least cell phones are rapidly updated. If your old phone won't update, buy another $200 phone. If your GM vehicle doesn't update do what, buy another $50,000 GM vehicle?
- Lou_BC Once again, Mustang is the last pony car standing. Camaro RIP, Challenger RIP.
There's a pattern to certain bylines of late of there being missing or just plain wrong information. Reading the TTAC article without reading the referenced article, one could easily believe (as more than one poster seems to have) that there is some sort of Chinese involved malfeasance at work here. OTOH, reading the actual article written by a real journalist reveals that the vague "unverified promises" that were quoted in the TTAC article were about investing in the property as a racetrack, expanding and upgrading facilities as well as bringing in more jobs. Who is the Andrew Cartwright referenced in the article? Other than stirring up xenophobic sentiments from the locals such as, "Personally, it's disgusting to me that you're selling out. Not only to a foreign country, but to a communist country." Who is this guy? A property developer. One who is making no assurances or promises that the facility will remain a racetrack after his group purchases it. It literally took less than five minutes of googling to dig a little under the surface to see what the county official's statements meant.
Mitime is a Chinese investment group in the same manner that Ford Motor Land Development Corporation is a Dearborn based real estate company.