Judge deciding whether water development company must accept check - Nature Conservancy bought land, will turn it over to federal government

Friday April 18, 2003

KCNC-TV Colorado

ALAMOSA, Colo. (AP) A district judge is deciding whether a water development company must accept a payment of $694,000 for its share of water rights at the Baca Ranch, which is set to become part of the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

American Water Development Inc. had sold the ranch several years ago to Cabeza de Vaca Land and Cattle Co. for $13 million plus a 10 percent interest in gross revenues from any sale of water assets on the 97,000-acre ranch in south-central Colorado.

In 2001, Cabeza agreed to sell the land to the Nature Conservancy for a little more than $31 million. The conservancy plans to turn the land over to the federal government to be part of the Great Sand Dunes National Monument which is being converted into a national park.

Complicating the issue is the fact that Vaca Partners and Farallon Capital Management, which loaned Cabeza money for the purchase, have filed a foreclosure action.

Officials expect the disputes to be resolved and the deal to go through after Judge John Kuenhold rules.


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