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Updated: Monday, 13 Aug 2012, 12:15 PM MDT
Published : Monday, 13 Aug 2012, 12:15 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Major plans for thousands of new homes and businesses on Albuquerque’s Westside are in limbo after a California based company fell short.
The plot of land, 55,000 acres, on Albuquerque’s Westside is the center of a massive lawsuit.
It is a $97 million breach of contract lawsuit filed this week by descendants of settlers of the Atrisco Land Grant.
They are taking on SunCal, a California based company.
“It’s a David versus goliath, which in this case it would be Atrisco versus SunCal Companies,” Peter Sanchez said.
Peter Sanchez, CEO of Atrisco Heritage, the foundation representing the descendants says SunCal purchased the land in 2007 to master-plan a community with land reserved for industrial plants and retail.
The land was bought for $250 million, but SunCal also promised to pay $1 million a year for 100 years to a trust to preserve the Atrisco Heritage, providing scholarships and help set up businesses.
“We got $3 million out of the $100 million payment 2.18 and that's it. The payments stopped,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez says the last payment covered 2009 around the same time SunCal was in the midst of foreclosure proceedings.
The suit states since the funding was cut, it killed dozens of educational programs such as scholarships and grade-school tutoring.
That's not all that's been affected..
While the company was planning on building the future on the Atrisco land, it promised to preserve its past.
“The biggest most attractive part of the bargain was the Atrisco Heritage,” Sanchez said.
No money means cultural programs to include genealogy research and elder oral histories were also cut.
Sanchez says that is a blow for the entire state.
They hope this lawsuit will change that.
“What we want is we want the commitment to be fulfilled,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez says it’s very possible the lawsuit could take two to three years to play out in court.
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