ASC wants suit moved back

— At the same time Triple Peaks was asking Tuesday for a quick resolution to the lawsuit it filed April 6, attorneys for American Skiing Co. were filing to have the case returned to federal court in Denver. That's where it began six weeks ago.

Triple Peaks, a group of investors fronted by Tim and Diane Mueller, owners of Okemo Mountain Resort, Vt., had contracted to purchase the Steamboat Ski Area from ASC for $91.4 million. The lawsuit is a response to ASC's decision to back out of the closing of the sale agreement March 26.

Triple Peaks originally filed suit in U.S. District Court in Denver in early April; the case meets the primary criteria the disputed amount is more than $75,000 and the litigants are from different states outside Colorado. Then, in late April, Triple Peaks' attorneys sought to move the case to District Court in Steamboat Springs. The attorneys said they had not taken into consideration the fact that two Colorado companies, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and Walton Pond Apartments, should have been named as defendants in the suit. They argued the addition of those two Colorado firms would negate qualification of the case for federal court.

Walton Pond Apartments provides employee housing for ski area employees. A local businessman, Curt Weiss, owns a minority share.

Judge Richard Doucette signed an order moving the case on April 24. An attorney for ASC, Mary Wells, argued Tuesday the case still belongs in federal court. Her firm filed in District Court yesterday to have the case removed to Denver once more. She contends that Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and Walton Pond Apartments are merely divisions of ASC, which is incorporated in Delaware and does business from offices in Maine. An associate of Wells filed a brief in court here contending that attaching Ski Corp. and Walton Pond Apts. to the case was "fraudulent."

Wells said she would not be surprised if attorneys for Triple Peaks challenge her efforts to move the case once more.

Doucette was in Hot Sulphur Springs Tuesday and was not expected to return until Monday. He may not see the documents filed in court Tuesday until May 13.

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