California: Last chance to get Hurwitz for, among other things, thieving 16,000 acres of ancient redwood forest

Financier Charles Hurwitz, who took over Pacific Lumber Co. in 1986
and touched off a storm of protest with his tree-cutting practices,
must go to trial in a lawsuit filed by a former state forestry
director accusing him of defrauding the federal government into paying
$250 million for the pristine Headwaters Forest, a federal judge has
ruled.

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http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/17/BURB16GOHM.DTL

The case, scheduled for trial April 20 in Oakland, centers on the
company’s sale in 1999 of the 3,000-acre Humboldt County forest, the
nation’s largest privately owned old-growth redwood grove. In a deal
brokered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Pacific Lumber also
promised to follow stringent logging practices and preserve the
habitat of endangered creatures on its remaining 210,000 acres of
timberland in Northern California.

The suit alleges that Hurwitz, in
order to increase logging and pay off his company’s debts, presented a
study, known as a sustained-yield plan, that overstated the amount of
timber his company could cut each year without causing lasting damage.
Pacific Lumber denied the allegations after the suit was filed in
2006.

State forestry officials agreed to allow more logging on Pacific
Lumber property after the company submitted the sustained-yield plan
and Hurwitz threatened to back out of the deal unless the state raised
the tree-cutting limits it had initially proposed. Despite the
concession, which the federal government accepted, Pacific Lumber was
unable to pay its debts and filed for bankruptcy in January 2007. Its
new owners, founders of San Francisco’s Gap Inc., have won support
from environmental groups for their plans for sustainable forestry and
reduced logging. James Brosnahan, a lawyer for Hurwitz and his
investment company, Maxxam Inc., said Tuesday his clients are
confident a jury will vindicate them.

“The federal government got the
magisterial Headwaters property. They got everything they wanted,”
Brosnahan said, noting that the government has kept out of the suit.
“That makes it a very strange federal fraud case.”

Get full text; support writer, producer of the words:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/17/BURB16GOHM.DTL

Comments (1)

More info...March 20th, 2009 at 10:35 pm

http://kunsoo1024.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/fraud-trial-against-hurwitz-will-go-forward/

Fraud trial against Hurwitz will go forward

March 20, 2009 in Uncategorized

From the SF Chronicle:

The case, scheduled for trial April 20 in Oakland, centers on the company’s sale in 1999 of the 3,000-acre Humboldt County forest, the nation’s largest privately owned old-growth redwood grove. In a deal brokered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Pacific Lumber also promised to follow stringent logging practices and preserve the habitat of endangered creatures on its remaining 210,000 acres of timberland in Northern California.

The article doesn’t say what sort of motion Hurwitz had made to dismiss. I’m not really familiar with federal procedure, but it looks like some sort of summary judgment motion was defeated. I wish reporters would educate themselves about the law so they can inform a little better.

Deane’s last blog post..UK: Imagine what the world would look like if we didn’t prune trees so much?

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