Tim Mueller, president of Mount Sunapee Resort, said the suit was filed Oct. 11 and alleges breach of contract by the State of New Hampshire.
Tim and Diane Mueller, owners of Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont and Crested Butte in Colorado, have operated Sunapee under a lease agreement with New Hampshire since 1998. Since then, the Muellers have invested $15 million in capital improvements and given the state $3.5 million in lease payments.
The operators proposed an expansion of the ski area with a 5,200-foot, high-speed quad chairlift and 75 acres of new ski trails over a portion of state-owned land and private land on the western flank of the mountain, in their 2004 Master Development Plan. Lynch has declined to submit the plans to the Executive Council for review, a first step in any approval.
"In context of a 40-year lease and a long-term business plan, this expansion is very important," Sunapee GM Jay Gamble told OnTheSnow.
"Otherwise the state is saying, 'We're not going to allow you to be competitive down the road, you're boxed in entirely.' In the state's original 1998 RFP and lease documents, plans for expansion of the ski area were specifically requested and procedures are provided for expanding Mount Sunapee," Gamble said.