Facing stalking order, group sues Salt Lake City again over century-old theater

Casey McDonough, left, and Michael Valentine, proper, co-founders of the Mates of the Utah Pantages Theater, share public information they’ve collected concerning Utah Pantages Theater on Feb. 8. The group filed a lawsuit towards Salt Lake Metropolis over the way forward for the theater on Thursday. (Carter Williams, KSL.com)

Estimated learn time: 7-8 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Pantages Theater, in its heyday, introduced in such comedy legends as Will Rogers, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

However the theater’s potential closing act is popping into fairly a drama.

In one more flip within the authorized struggle over the way forward for the century-old downtown constructing, which is slated to be knocked down later this 12 months, leaders of a bunch preventing to protect the theater are suing Salt Lake Metropolis and its redevelopment company over its 2019 settlement to promote the constructing.

The lawsuit was filed simply weeks after the developer that now owns the constructing filed a stalking injunction towards one of many group’s founders, searching for to maintain him away from the constructing earlier than it is demolished later this 12 months.

Members of the group Mates of the Utah Pantages Theater filed the lawsuit in third District Courtroom on Thursday. The criticism facilities on town’s course of and resolution to switch the theater to the worldwide growth firm Hines for $0 in 2019. A spokesperson for Salt Lake Metropolis Mayor’s Workplace instructed KSL.com town is conscious of the lawsuit and metropolis attorneys are at present reviewing it.

The homeowners of two native companies, Twisted Roots and Beckett & Robb, additionally joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs, stating the choice adversely affected them as a result of they had been compelled to shut and relocate their Foremost Road outlets after the switch of the constructing was finalized late final 12 months.

The plaintiffs are searching for a judgment that may void the 2019 settlement, citing violations of Utah code. For the reason that metropolis not has management of the constructing, they’re additionally searching for an injunction that may forestall town from issuing permits that may enable Hines to demolish the constructing.

The contractor employed by Hines to tear down the constructing filed a demolition allow request final month. Their request remains to be pending evaluate as of this week, in response to metropolis information.

A consultant for Hines filed a stalking injunction towards Michael Valentine — one of many founders of Mates of the Utah Pantages Theater — every week after the allow request was filed.

The paperwork filed in third District Courtroom reveals the corporate is searching for to maintain Valentine away from the theater due to what they name “excessive threatening conduct.”

Valentine additionally made a court docket look Thursday to plead his aspect within the injunction. He instructed KSL.com that he believes that it is all an try and maintain him away from the theater earlier than it is torn down.

“This can be a fairly baseless stalking injunction. … They’re attempting to maintain us away from this theater, away from this matter, away from the general public, and I feel (this) is only a continuation of that,” he mentioned every week after the injunction was filed.

He added later that he plans to file a counterclaim towards Hines over the ordeal.

How we acquired right here

Advocates for the century-old Utah Pantages Theater have squabbled with Salt Lake Metropolis over the destiny of the constructing for almost three years.

The Utah Pantages Theater opened in 1920 however it has been vacant for a while. Salt Lake Metropolis’s redevelopment company acquired the property for $5.5 million in 2010 and continued to publicly voice plans to protect the theater by means of at the least 2016; the data that the plaintiffs dug up in information requests reveals how the temper had modified by 2018.

Town’s RDA wrote on a web site that it estimates it could price between $40 million to $80 million to retrofit and restore the constructing, which is why it started to maneuver away from the concept of preserving it.

A part of the rivalry is the price. The estimates from comparable theaters refurbished over the previous decade point out it could possibly be finished for much less, Valentine says. A plan to revive the Pantages theater in Tacoma, Washington, launched in 2018, for instance, price rather less than $25 million, in response to the Information Tribune.

Homeowners of the constructing is also eligible for state and federal tax credit towards restoration initiatives if the constructing was listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations.

Then, in late 2019, town agreed to the cope with Hines for $0. The developer’s plans name for a 31-story, 368-foot high-rise on Foremost Road to interchange the theater.

The lawsuit filed Thursday is the third lawsuit within the matter. Valentine and Casey McDonough, one other founding father of Mates of the Utah Pantages Theater, first filed a lawsuit towards town over a failed poll measure. A decide sided with town however it has since been appealed to the Utah Supreme Courtroom.

The newest case

What the plaintiffs argue within the new lawsuit is that town violated Utah legal guidelines in its means of handing over the constructing for demolition.

Whereas it is not on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations, specialists from each Preservation Utah and the Utah State Preservation Workplace instructed metropolis officers that it both was or may have been eligible for that standing previous to the 2019 settlement, in response to paperwork.

One state statute says redevelopment companies should undergo a collection of processes earlier than shifting ahead with a plan as soon as a constructing is set to be historic. Valentine says these procedures weren’t adopted, thus he believes the deal is illegitimate.

“We’re saying the theater must be transferred again to town and these processes should be adopted in an open and clear manner,” he mentioned. “They by no means submitted the theater (for the historic report), they did not comply with this code. They deny the theater was eligible proper up by means of November 2021 after we completed our software and submitted the theater for the registry.”

Casey McDonough, left, and Michael Valentine, right, co-founders of the Friends of the Utah Pantages Theater, share contents from a binder of public records they've collected regarding Utah Pantages Theater. during an interview with KSL.com on Feb. 8. The group filed a lawsuit against Salt Lake City over the future of the Utah Pantages Theater on Thursday.
Casey McDonough, left, and Michael Valentine, proper, co-founders of the Mates of the Utah Pantages Theater, share contents from a binder of public information they’ve collected concerning Utah Pantages Theater. throughout an interview with KSL.com on Feb. 8. The group filed a lawsuit towards Salt Lake Metropolis over the way forward for the Utah Pantages Theater on Thursday. (Photograph: Carter Williams, KSL)

Town’s RDA web site acknowledges that Utah State Historic Preservation Workplace was trying into the matter final 12 months. In a single letter from the state preservation workplace dated Nov. 6, 2019, earlier than the $0 deal was introduced, a member from the preservation workplace wrote that there weren’t any ensures the theater would land on the register, however they wrote “it does have an opportunity and is actually price attempting.”

In keeping with the RDA web site, town contends the workplace did not take up the difficulty itself till March 2021. Emails and different paperwork submitted as proof within the lawsuit present town’s Historic Landmark Fee acknowledged on Nov. 4, 2021, that there could be a state assembly concerning the constructing on Nov. 18. Town nonetheless had possession of the constructing on the time because the settlement wasn’t finalized.

However a Hines lawyer despatched an e mail to the Utah State Preservation Workplace on Nov. 10, 2021 — the day the transaction was finalized — objecting to the nomination. Hines wrote that the constructing was “past restore and there may be not a financially viable use for restoration.”

And the matter apparently ended there.

Since metropolis officers say they’re nonetheless reviewing the lawsuit, they didn’t touch upon it. A spokesperson for Hines mentioned the corporate was unaware of the lawsuit.

Why care concerning the theater?

The brand new lawsuit can also be probably not the final authorized matter to be filed within the courts. The group can also be trying into different potential missteps uncovered in public information paperwork, in response to Valentine.

He and McDonough say they have been contained in the theater and seen its potential, which is why they’ve invested a lot time on the theater. Their final objective is to return it to its former glory. They view it as a novel constructing that they imagine generally is a public area residents would get pleasure from and a venue that brings individuals in for large occasions.

It has been form of a historic preservation second of speaking about these buildings in our metropolis. It has began a dialog, which is cool.

–Michael Valentine

On the identical time, they’re metropolis residents who proceed to query how the deal shook out. Valentine has an actual property background and says he is not sure how any constructing — even an getting old theater — misplaced worth from $5.5 million in 2010 to $4 million 9 years later when the remainder of the neighborhood property values skyrocketed. That is even earlier than the $4 million was waved off.

The lawsuits, they defined, emerged after they mentioned they had been rebuffed by metropolis officers each time they tried to deliver up questions and start dialogues over the plan for the theater.

“If it was a personal developer and a personal developer exchanging property, making a deal, then we would not have any argument,” McDonough mentioned. “However now we have an RDA utilizing our tax {dollars} with metropolis property making a cope with this billion-dollar developer.”

Valentine and McDonough say that it is also been well worth the struggle as a result of it is introduced preservation points to the forefront, which is why they do not foresee themselves giving up anytime quickly.

“It has been form of a historic preservation second of speaking about these buildings in our metropolis,” Valentine provides. “It has began a dialog, which is cool.”

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A Group Founded by Colin Kaepernick Is Providing Free Second Autopsies

A gaggle based by the previous N.F.L. quarterback Colin Kaepernick began this week to supply free secondary autopsies for households of people that died beneath “police-related” circumstances.

An authorized post-mortem will be prohibitive, typically costing $5,000 or extra, so these with out means have needed to depend on the official inquiry carried out by a health worker or coroner. However proponents of a second post-mortem argue that forensic pathology just isn’t an actual science, and that medical specialists can have differing opinions which are typically coloured by bias.

Not having the means for an unbiased post-mortem — a second opinion, in medical converse — prohibits one’s entry to equal justice, supporters of Mr. Kaepernick’s initiative stated.

“There’s undoubtedly a deep-seated unconscious bias — and in some situations a aware bias — on the a part of medical experts vis-à-vis police-related deaths,” Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, one among nation’s most well-known forensic pathologists and one of many board-certified examiners who might be conducting autopsies as a part of this effort, stated in an interview on Thursday.

Individuals distrustful of the often-cozy relationship between coroners and legislation enforcement officers have lengthy turned to the personal sector. Dozens of private-autopsy providers, like 1-800-Post-mortem in Los Angeles, function throughout the nation in industrial buildings, laboratories and within the backs of funeral houses.

The considerations over forensic pathology had been heightened after the killing of George Floyd in 2020 beneath the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer.

The Hennepin County health worker categorized Mr. Floyd’s loss of life as a murder and listed coronary heart illness, fentanyl and methamphetamine as contributing elements. However forensic pathologists employed by Mr. Floyd’s household stated that asphyxia, or deprivation of oxygen, was the reason for loss of life and positioned the blame squarely on the cops concerned.

The post-mortem initiative is a part of Know Your Rights Camp, an activist group based by Mr. Kaepernick that describes its mission as advancing “the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities.”

The group defines a police-related loss of life as one wherein a person “dies on account of being shot, crushed, restrained, deliberately hit by a police car, pepper sprayed, tasered or in any other case harmed by cops, whether or not on-duty or off-duty.”

Some medical experts have stated that, like everybody else, they’ve biases, however that ample techniques are already in place, together with courtroom scrutiny of their selections. The Nationwide Affiliation of Medical Examiners didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Dr. Wecht stated {that a} second evaluation would typically have the same opinion with the primary, however it may additionally function a examine on the system. He stated the biases that would develop amongst medical experts usually are not essentially sinister however slightly the pure product of shut working relationships with legislation enforcement.

“Health workers take care of cops on a regular basis,” Dr. Wecht stated. “They get their tales from the cops on a regular basis. There’s nothing startling or extremely surprising to be influenced in that trend by individuals with whom you’re employed.”

Mr. Kaepernick, as a quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, began kneeling throughout the nationwide anthem earlier than N.F.L. video games in 2016. He stated he needed to lift consciousness of racism, social injustice and police brutality towards “Black individuals and folks of shade.”

A program official stated Mr. Kaepernick was not out there for touch upon Thursday, however the former quarterback stated in an announcement that the “jail industrial complicated” contains the police and “strives to guard and serve its pursuits in any respect prices.”

The post-mortem initiative, he stated, “is one necessary step towards guaranteeing that members of the family have entry to correct and forensically verifiable details about the reason for loss of life of their liked one of their time of want.”

How Te’Jon Lucas left mark on BYU — and its history — with rest of senior group

Brigham Younger Cougars guard Te’Jon Lucas (3) and Brigham Younger Cougars guard Alex Barcello (13) discuss and snigger as the sport ends as BYU defeats Texas Southern in an NCAA basketball sport on the Marriott Heart in Provo on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. BYU gained 81-64. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret Information)

Estimated learn time: 6-7 minutes

PROVO — Te’Jon Lucas had barely heard of Brigham Younger College earlier than head coach Mark Pope and his employees contacted him about coming to Provo as a graduate switch.

He knew Pope, Chris Burgess, Cody Fueger and the remaining the employees from when the group tried to recruit him to Utah Valley the primary time he transferred, when he left Illinois and in the end ended up nearer to him at UW-Milwaukee. Clearly, Lucas’ response there was, “thanks, however no thanks.”

One thing clicked this time round, although, and the 6-foot-1, 187-pound level guard discovered himself flying out to Provo to decide to the college, nearly sight unseen. He met star guard Alex Barcello — who, like Lucas, was additionally a switch (from Arizona) and never a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the college’s sponsoring establishment — and the 2 turned quick associates.

But when Lucas was going to make this work, he did not wish to simply be a one-year mercenary, employed to play basketball, win some video games, perhaps make an NCAA Event look, and get out. He needed to study what BYU was all about — the college, the neighborhood, the tradition and never simply the basketball program.

So Lucas, typically accompanied by fellow switch Seneca Knight, visited a number of elements of campus after they weren’t at follow or at school. The duo famously rolled as much as the Smith Fieldhouse for ladies’s volleyball matches, cheered on the ladies’s soccer workforce as they put collectively the perfect season in program historical past, and sat courtside for ladies’s basketball after they weren’t making ready for their very own video games within the Marriott Heart.

If Lucas was going to be part of the college’s basketball program, he needed to be part of the campus neighborhood, too.

“One in all my coaches used to say ‘make each place your massive time,'” Lucas defined. “I simply needed to soak it in whereas I used to be right here, get pleasure from my second, and never simply be a basketball participant right here. I needed to expertise various things, go to completely different sports activities, discover the college, discover Utah; I’ve by no means been to Utah in my life. I did not wish to simply go to the MC and the Annex … however to soak within the second.

“You by no means know if you’ll be again to Utah, so I simply needed to soak it in the place ever I am at.”

Loyola Marymount guard Cam Shelton (20) defends Brigham Young guard Te'Jon Lucas (3) as Brigham Young Cougars plays Loyola Marymount Lions in an NCAA basketball game at Marriott Center in Provo, Feb. 24, 2022.
Loyola Marymount guard Cam Shelton (20) defends Brigham Younger guard Te’Jon Lucas (3) as Brigham Younger Cougars performs Loyola Marymount Lions in an NCAA basketball sport at Marriott Heart in Provo, Feb. 24, 2022. (Picture: Mengshin Lin, Deseret Information)

By way of all of it, Lucas has discovered a bit bit himself, and lots about BYU, about Provo, and about Utah. He is discovered a house in Utah County — one he hopes to go to once more after his closing sport within the Marriott Heart, which is Saturday in opposition to Pepperdine (6 p.m. MST, ESPNU).

And he is additionally been fairly good, averaging 10.8 factors, 4.7 assists and a couple of.3 rebounds per sport for a BYU workforce that continues to be on the NCAA Event bubble — simply exterior or simply inside, relying on which projection you seek the advice of — one week earlier than the West Coast Convention Event in Las Vegas.

Lucas is one in every of 4 seniors that shall be honored earlier than Saturday’s sport as a part of the Cougars’ senior night time festivities, and all however one in every of them began their careers elsewhere. Apart from Lucas and Barcello, the Arizona switch who was honored as a senior a yr in the past earlier than opting to benefit from one closing season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Orem Excessive product Richard Harward can even be honored as a senior after following Pope to BYU from Utah Valley.

Solely Gavin Baxter, the 6-foot-9, 228-pound ahead with a 7-foot wing span from Timpview Excessive, began his profession in Provo — and the oft-injured ahead may nonetheless go for one other season of eligibility, attributable to a mixture of COVID-19 and a rash of accidents suffered throughout his time with the Cougars.

Rather a lot continues to be unknown about seniors within the period of post-COVID eligibility and the switch portal. However one factor is definite for gamers like Lucas and Barcello.

“All I do know is I can say that this may undoubtedly be my final house sport in school basketball. There isn’t any likelihood I will be again subsequent yr,” stated Lucas, who shall be accompanied by his mom, grandmother and sister throughout senior night time. “I have been blessed to play at three nice universities, to play 5 years. So I simply wish to soak all of it in and benefit from the second.”

The Cougars (20-9, 8-6 WCC) went from an all-but assured NCAA Event workforce to the perimeters of the bubble with a four-game dropping streak and 5 losses of their final eight video games. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has BYU amongst on the surface fringe of the bubble, whereas CBS’ Jerry Palm lists the Cougars among the many First 4 groups in Dayton taking part in for a 12-seed.

With out Barcello, BYU is probably going a sub-.500 workforce. With out Lucas, they most likely aren’t significantly better. However each have meant extra to the college than simply basketball.

“He has given his coronary heart and soul to this college, and to this basketball program,” Pope stated of Barcello. “He has built-in himself into our setup in a powerful manner.

“He is a man with a giant coronary heart on this neighborhood. He is completed a lot service and a lot instance setting. … He is been an unimaginable ambassador for this college right here.”

Initially signed to Illinois, Lucas transferred again to his hometown of Milwaukee — the place he plans to someday open a neighborhood heart just like the one which gave him so many alternatives rising up — and starred within the Horizon League. When he graduated, he nonetheless had one yr of eligibility because of the pandemic.

After which he wound up in Provo, after additionally being recruited out of the switch portal by Utah, Nevada, DePaul and New Mexico State, amongst different colleges.

“He is bounced round, various occasions — went to 2 completely different excessive colleges and three completely different schools,” stated Anthony McHenry, Lucas’ AAU coach, in a “Deep Blue” characteristic on BYUtv. “And on the similar time, I believe each would say that he is a tremendously loyal particular person. However circumstances arose that had been exterior his management in each a type of conditions, and he had the braveness and willingness to step again and ask, ‘is that this proper for me?’ If the reply was no, he needed to go pursue what was the perfect alternative for him.”

He is additionally had the prospect to make a distinction, even in lower than twelve months. Lucas was a part of a groundbreaking beginning lineup in BYU basketball historical past, what’s believed to be the primary time a Beginning 5 didn’t characteristic a member of the college’s sponsoring religion, earlier than an 83-82 additional time win at Loyola Marymount.

The starters additionally included 4 Black student-athletes, which can also be believed to be a program first, in Lucas, Knight and African-born forwards Gideon George and Fousseyni Traore.

The workforce did not got down to make historical past with that beginning lineup. However the ramifications of it may have a big affect on this system — and the college — for years to come back.

“It was undoubtedly an honor. I believe it was nice to point out the variety now we have at BYU,” Lucas stated. “We have been speaking lots about variety and inclusion right here, and I believe it was an amazing second to point out that anyone — irrespective of your race or your perception — can come right here and achieve success, irrespective of your pores and skin coloration or your background. That is all we had been attempting to point out. We did not need it to be a giant deal about race; that is simply how the sport performed out.

“I am honored to be part of one thing particular like that. Hopefully it is simply the beginning of one thing that would probably change.”

Tips on how to watch, stream and pay attention

Pepperdine (7-23, 1-14 WCC) vs. BYU (20-9, 8-6 WCC)

Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022

Tipoff: 6 p.m. MT

TV: ESPNU (Eric Rothman, Dane Bradshaw)

Streaming: WatchESPN

Radio: BYU Radio 89.1 FM, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM (Greg Wrubell, Mark Durrant)

Sequence: BYU leads, 19-10

Senior Evening: The Cougars will honor 4 seniors forward of Saturday’s finale regular-season house sport within the Marriott Heart — solely one in every of which began his profession at BYU:

  • Alex Barcello, G, Arizona (Chandler, Ariz.)
  • Te’Jon Lucas, G, UW-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, Wisc.)
  • Richard Harward, C, Utah Valley (Orem)
  • Gavin Baxter, F, Timpview HS (Provo)

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Justice Dept. Sues to Block $13 Billion Deal by UnitedHealth Group

WASHINGTON — The Justice Division on Thursday sued to dam a $13 billion acquisition of a well being know-how firm by a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, within the newest transfer by the Biden administration to clamp down on company consolidation.

The company argued {that a} deal by UnitedHealth to purchase the well being tech agency Change Healthcare would give UnitedHealth delicate knowledge that it may wield towards its rivals within the insurance coverage enterprise. The swimsuit was filed in U.S. District Court docket for the District of Columbia. New York and Minnesota additionally joined the lawsuit.

A spokeswoman for Optum, the UnitedHealth subsidiary, stated in an announcement that the Justice Division’s “deeply flawed place relies on extremely speculative theories that don’t replicate the realities of the well being care system,” and added that the corporate would “defend our case vigorously.” A spokeswoman for Change Healthcare stated it was nonetheless “working towards closing the merger as we adjust to our obligations underneath the merger settlement.”

The deal is the newest transaction to run into opposition from the Biden administration, which has made countering company consolidation a central a part of its financial agenda. President Biden signed an government order final 12 months to spur competitors in several industries. He additionally appointed Lina Khan, a distinguished critic of the tech giants, to guide the Federal Commerce Fee and Jonathan Kanter, a lawyer who has represented giant firms, as chief of antitrust efforts on the Justice Division.

Since then, the F.T.C. has blocked Lockheed Martin from shopping for a maker of missile propulsion methods and the chip large Nvidia from buying the design agency Arm. Even earlier than Mr. Kanter was confirmed, the Justice Division sued to dam the merger of two main insurance coverage brokers; the acquisition of Simon & Schuster by the writer Penguin Random Home; and a deal that will have married a few of JetBlue’s operations with American Airways’.

“It’s half and parcel of this effort to be sure that markets actually are aggressive,” stated William Baer, who beforehand served as the top of the Justice Division’s antitrust division.

In an announcement, Legal professional Common Merrick B. Garland stated the company “is dedicated to difficult anticompetitive mergers, notably these on the intersection of well being care and knowledge.”

Optum stated final 12 months that it could purchase Change Healthcare, an organization that provides know-how providers to insurers. UnitedHealth is likely one of the largest well being firms within the nation, with $287.6 billion in income in 2021. Along with its well being care info know-how enterprise, its Optum unit owns doctor practices, a big chain of surgical procedure facilities and one of many nation’s largest pharmacy profit managers.

On the middle of the Justice Division’s lawsuit is the information that Change Healthcare gathers when it helps course of insurance coverage claims. The division argued that the deal would allow UnitedHealth to see the foundations that its rivals used to course of claims and undercut them. UnitedHealth may additionally crunch knowledge about sufferers at different insurers to achieve a aggressive benefit, the company stated.

The lawsuit claims that, based on a UnitedHealth estimate, greater than half of American medical insurance coverage claims “move by (or contact)” Change Healthcare’s methods. It says that UnitedHealth’s former chief government noticed the tech firm’s knowledge because the “basis” of the reasoning behind the deal.

The lawsuit additionally argued that UnitedHealth may withhold Change Healthcare’s merchandise — which different insurers use — from its rivals or save a few of its new improvements for itself. The Justice Division added that the deal would give UnitedHealth a monopoly over a sort of service that was used to display screen insurance coverage claims for errors and pace up processing.

The businesses have stated the acquisition will enhance effectivity within the business. Additionally they explored promoting the a part of Change Healthcare that the Justice Division stated would give UnitedHealth a brand new monopoly.

Lawmakers and regulators have more and more fearful that large companies may use troves of information to harm their rivals. A congressional committee has investigated whether or not Amazon makes use of knowledge from outdoors retailers who use its platform to develop competing merchandise, for instance. Critics of Fb have additionally argued that the corporate’s having years of consumer knowledge makes it tough for an upstart service to problem its dominance.

Since Mr. Kanter joined the antitrust division on the Justice Division, critics have stated he mustn’t oversee circumstances towards firms whose rivals he represented whereas in non-public apply. Based on a monetary disclosure kind he filed final 12 months, he as soon as represented Cigna, a significant insurer that competes with UnitedHealth, and the distant well being care firm Teladoc.

Mr. Kanter has not participated within the lawsuit towards UnitedHealth, an individual aware of the Justice Division’s case stated.

Reed Abelson contributed reporting.