Judge won't punish conservationists in Tahoe ski resort suit

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - The owners of a Lake Tahoe ski resort in a legal battle with an environmental group over a redevelopment project have failed to persuade a California judge to penalize the conservationists with an order to pay more than $225,000 in attorney bills.

Placer County Judge Michael Jones ruled in August against Sierra Watch's claim the county violated public meeting laws when it approved Alterra Mountain Co.'s expansion at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows near Tahoe City, California.

Squaw Valley president Ron Cohen argued the lawsuit was a frivolous attempt to "gum up the works for years" and urged the judge to sanction the nonprofit group to collect $226,893 in attorney fees as punishment.

The Sierra Sun first reported last week the judge denied the request for sanctions, saying the plaintiff's case was not frivolous "or totally meritless."

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