From Bob’s blog:
The Dimmick Ranch and People Productions regret to announce that a settlement has not been reached in the pending litigation of Mateel Community Center versus People Productions, Carol Bruno and Thomas Dimmick over the claims of breach of contract and other assorted issues related to the Reggae on the River and Reggae Rising music festivals.
On December 14, 2007 The Dimmick Ranch and People Productions approached the Mateel Board’s negotiating team and again initiated an offer to engage in shuttle negotiations with the goal of reaching a compromised out-of-court settlement. Three respected community members agreed to volunteer their time to help resolve the complicated dispute prior to the commencement of a costly legal proceeding. An intense negotiation lasted 3 long days and resulted in an agreement “in principle” on the major terms.
The parties had mutually concurred on a self-imposed confidentiality agreement, believing that it was essential to preserve the process whereby competent and rational decisions could be made based solely on a complete understanding of the full context of the agreement and how the terms were reached. All parties had agreed to postpone the week of scheduled depositions and had two days to work together through a couple of relatively smaller open issues and finalize a Memorandum of Understanding detailing the deal points to create the final Settlement Agreement. Due to the holidays and the date of the pending hearing, time was clearly of the essence.
On Monday December 17, 2007 the document was drawn up and given to all parties. The Dimmick Ranch and People Productions contacted their attorneys to discuss what was believed to be a pending settlement. Although the MCC negotiation committee had stated at the beginning of the process that they were fully authorized to make commitments on the terms of an agreement, 11 days later, they finally returned the settlement MOU having made significant, substantive changes to the previously agreed upon deal points, apparently at the behest of MCC Board members that were not at all involved in the negotiation process. The Board had also violated the confidentiality agreement and by December 20, the anonymous contributors on a local southern Humboldt internet blog site were rapidly weighing in on the once delicate and hopeful process that was quickly slipping away.
In an act that only further muddied the settlement waters, the MCC Board then called for a public meeting on January 08, 2008 to discuss the settlement deal points. Most of these deal points had not even been agreed upon by all the parties in the negotiation process. By that time, preparation for the pending hearing could no longer be postponed. The MCC board’s unilateral changes to substantive agreed upon settlement terms, its delays costing valuable time prior to the scheduled hearing, and its failure to honor the commitments of the MCC negotiators have unfortunately combined to completely undermine the once-promising prospects for settlement.
The hearing date for the matter regarding material breach of the Lease Agreement is set to begin January 28, 2008. Although it has always been both People Productions’ and the Dimmick Ranch’s intention to support the Mateel Community Center through the production of the yearly music festival, and numerous offers have been made that would have provided the MCC with a substantial annual income stream, they could not, despite best efforts, reach an agreement to accomplish that aim.
The unfortunate and unnecessary dispute between these parties has caused a great deal of division in our community. The facts surrounding the origin of the claims of contractual breach have never been fully reported or publicly understood. We are confident that testimony and evidence produced through the legal proceeding will illuminate the facts that initiated the turmoil. We are hopeful that through a fair and rational judgment our community might understand the complex issues that led to this dispute and that. as a community, we will resolve to move beyond the division and restore the collective wellbeing.