MODESTO -- Three weeks after breaking a signed promise to deliver $2.75 million, West Park has not paid up and Stanislaus County officials tentatively have scheduled an Aug. 21 vote to consider cutting the developer loose.
West Park's Gerry Kamilos, who sweet-talked a second and supposedly final extension in June by dangling the $2.75 million carrot, said Wednesday that the payment should arrive by next week.
That could comply with a drop-dead limit set by county officials who declared a breach of contract July 11 and started ticking a 30-day clock that closes Aug. 10.
"I see no reason why the deposit would not be made," Kamilos said.
It's not clear whether cash would repair damage done in the eyes of elected county supervisors, who are desperate for economic advancement. But in five years, they never have unanimously backed Kamilos' vision of West Park as a huge industrial, jobs-generating complex near Crows Landing.
Kamilos hopes to establish an inland port on a former naval air base, unloading Asian imports arriving via rail from the Port of Oakland. Local farm products could return on railcars and ships to Pacific Rim buyers, he says, while new industry here could put 13,000 people to work.
"It's a phenomenal project," Kamilos said. "It's going to be very significant."
His attorney confirmed Wednesday that $1 million arrived in a trust account controlled by the attorney about June 18, just before Kamilos finessed the extension from county leaders. But the county has no access to that money, and Roseville attorney Mark Lipton refused to say whether it's still there.
County Counsel John Doering described the deposit as show-me money, or evidence offered by Kamilos that his investors have the wherewithal to deliver a major project. On a 3-1 vote, county supervisors agreed and gave him until Jan. 31 an ambitious time line, all said to produce key documents.
But the July 10 deposit deadline came and went, and some leaders have openly shared frustration. Doering said a vote to show Kamilos the door has been penciled in for Aug. 21, and it might not matter whether the money arrives before then.
The county floated the idea of voting before Aug. 10, to accommodate supervisors' vacation schedules, but West Park's attorney objected, Doering said.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2390.
WEST PARK DEPOSIT
Bee reporter Garth Stapley has put together a flow chart of key elements of West Park developer Gerry Kamilos' June agreement with Stanislaus County, which he is in breach of:
$1 million: About June 18, this money was put in an escrow trust controlled by West Park's attorney and was to be released to the county on July 10 along with additional money. The county has no access to this "good faith deposit," and the attorney refuses to say whether it remains in the trust.
$1.75 million: This was to be delivered to the county treasury July 10 with the escrow money for a total of $2.75 million. County officials have declared West Park in breach, opening a 30-day window that would close next week, after which the county could terminate its relationship with West Park. None of the money had been paid as of Wednesday afternoon.
If the money does not arrive by Aug. 10: The county Board of Supervisors, which has no meeting scheduled the next week, tentatively could consider terminating West Park's exclusive negotiating deal Aug. 21.
If West Park pays up by Aug. 10: Officials could decide to ignore the issue and drop the Aug. 21 vote. Or, based on the breach, supervisors could vote on whether to terminate their relationship with West Park. If they cut loose the developer, County Counsel John Doering says he would advise that the money be returned.
If the master development agreement remains intact: A $2 million sum would be used to pay consultants working on a variety of documents under the umbrellas of an environmental impact report and a specific plan, to reimburse the county for staff time reviewing the project and for "public outreach." A total of $750,000 would be reserved for improvements at the former naval air base now owned by the county.
If West Park fails to produce required documents by Jan. 31: The county would keep the $2 million and use it for similar documents with another developer. Of the rest, half, or $375,000, would be returned to West Park and the county would keep the other half for future airport improvements.