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A Utah-based resort company has completed its purchase of Jay Peak Resort, the northern Vermont ski area that was at the center of a financial scandal involving its former owner and president.

Pacific Group Resorts, which owns five other ski areas, announced Tuesday that the state of Vermont had approved the assignment of leases for ski terrain, allowing the sale to close. A federal judge in September approved the company’s $76 million bid to buy Jay Peak after it won an auction for the ski area.

“The leadership and guests of Jay Peak are fortunate to have an experienced resort operator like PGRI take the helm from here,” said court-appointed receiver Michael Goldberg, who has been overseeing the resort for the last 6 1/2 years.

Mark Fischer, PGRI’s executive vice-president and CFO, said in a statement that Jay Peak “is a highly respected resort property widely known for its prodigious snowfall and avid patrons” that fits into the company’s strategy of “geographic diversification.” He also said Jay Peak has dedicated staff that have created “a strong mountain culture.”

Pacific Groups Resorts’ other ski areas include Ragged Mountain Resort in New Hampshire and Powderhorn Mountain Resort in Colorado, as well as properties in British Columbia, Virginia and Maryland.


A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a Justice Department lawsuit that sought to force longtime casino developer Steve Wynn to register as a foreign agent because of lobbying work it said he conducted at the behest of the Chinese government during the Trump administration.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg did not address in his 20-page order whether Wynn was functioning as a Beijing agent. Instead, he said he agreed with Wynn’s lawyers that the department could not compel him now to register as a foreign agent because any relationship Wynn had with the Chinese government ended in 2017.

The order is a setback for stepped-up Justice Department efforts to enforce a decades-old law known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act. It requires anyone who lobbies on behalf of a foreign government or entity to register their work with the U.S. government.

“We are delighted that the District Court today dismissed the government’s ill-conceived lawsuit against Steve Wynn,” his lawyers, Reid Weingarten and Robert Luskin, said in a statement. “Mr. Wynn never acted as an agent of the Chinese government and never lobbied on its behalf.”

The Justice Department has said that it repeatedly advised Wynn over the past four years to register. It sued him in May to try to force him to do so, describing the suit as the first of its kind in more than three decades.


A lawyer who laundered millions of dollars in drug money for a violent Mexican drug cartel was sentenced Friday to 15 years and eight months in federal prison.

Juan Manuel Álvarez Inzunza, 40, told a federal judge in San Diego, California, that he was “deeply remorseful” and thanked the U.S. government for his capture. The Mexican citizen said his 2016 arrest ended his criminal career and helped make sure “my conduct didn’t get any worse,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Álvarez Inzunza was sentenced on a money-laundering conspiracy charge. In 2016, he was arrested in Mexico, where he was held until his extradition to the U.S. last year.

With credit for time already spent in custody, he was likely to spend nine more years in prison and then will be deported to Mexico, the Union-Tribune said.

In a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Álvarez Inzunza acknowledged that he laundered money for the Sinaloa Cartel from at least December 2013 to August 2015.

Álvarez Inzunza was orphaned and raised by poor relatives in Culiacán, the capital of Mexico’s Sinaloa state. He had a private law firm there when, about a decade ago, “the wrong client came in, and he listened to them” and began his criminal career, defense attorney Frederick Carroll said at Friday’s hearing.

Álvarez Inzunza would relay orders from cartel bosses to an associate in Colombia who would coordinate couriers to pick up cash in the U.S., the prosecution said.

During an investigation, U.S. federal agents found that Álvarez Inzunza had organized the transfer of millions of dollars from the United States to Mexico and other countries and they were able to seize at least $3.5 million in cash, including large amounts of drug money from Boston, Detroit and New York, authorities said.

Álvarez Inzunza was “trying to provide for his family” but ended up “destroying his family,” his attorney said.

At his sentencing. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw acknowledged that Álvarez Inzunza was remorseful but said his actions helped fund the violent cartel, which doesn’t “exist without money.”

“You’re complicit in all of this activity — it’s not just the money laundering,” Sabraw said.


The Oregon Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from 13 counties in a long-running $1 billion lawsuit over timber revenue and what constitutes “the greatest permanent value” when it comes to forest management.

The denial ends a six-year legal battle over logging practices on 700,000 acres and is a victory for the state Department of Forestry and environmental groups. The decision leaves in place a lower court ruling saying that Oregon can manage forests for a range of values that include recreation, water quality and wildlife habitat — not just logging revenue.

“It’s the end of the road for what has been a false narrative for far too long … that it’s the public forestland’s obligation to provide the bulk of the revenues for local communities,” Ralph Bloemers, who represented fishing and conservation groups in the case, told Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The counties gave forestland to the state decades ago and Oregon manages the land and funnels timber revenue to the counties.

But 13 counties took Oregon to court, alleging the state was not maximizing logging on the forests. A Linn County jury found in the counties’ favor in 2019 and awarded more than $1 billion in damages, but an appeals court struck down the verdict earlier this year.

A representative for the counties called the high court’s inaction “disappointing.”

“The underlying issue of forest practices on public lands is left unresolved,” Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist said in a statement.

Linn is one of several Oregon counties and special taxing districts that receive a cut of logging profits from forestland they gave to the state in the 1930s and 1940s. Oregon agreed to manage those lands, which were mostly burned and logged over at the time of donation, “so as to secure the greatest permanent value of those lands to the state.”

Oregon has sent millions of dollars to the counties over the years, bolstering local budgets. But 13 counties took the state to court, saying “greatest permanent value” meant managing forests for maximum timber revenue.

The Oregon Department of Justice, which represented the state government in the case, issued a written statement Friday calling the Supreme Court’s decision a “victory for Oregon’s environment and for sound forest management in general.”

“Our forests serve a range of environmental, recreational, and economic purposes,” the statement reads. “By allowing what we argued was the correct decision of the Court of Appeals to stand, we have a swifter resolution and finality after a 6-year dispute.”


Wisconsin’s conservative-controlled Supreme Court ruled Friday that absentee ballot drop boxes may be placed only in election offices and that no one other than the voter can return a ballot in person, dealing a defeat to Democrats who said the decision would make it harder to vote in the battleground state.

However, the court didn’t address whether anyone other than the voter can return his or her own ballot by mail. That means that anyone could still collect multiple ballots for voters and, instead of using a drop box, put them in the mail.

Republicans have argued that practice, known as ballot harvesting, is ripe with fraud although there has been no evidence of that happening in Wisconsin. Democrats and others argue that many voters, particularly the elderly and disabled, have difficulty returning their ballots without the assistance of others.

Supporters argue drop boxes are a better option than mailing ballots because they go directly to the clerks and can’t be lost or delayed in transit.

The decision sets absentee ballot rules for the Aug. 9 primary and the fall election; Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers are seeking reelection in key races.

Johnson and other Republicans hailed it as a win for voter integrity.

“This decision is a big step in the right direction,” Johnson said.

Evers and other Democrats said the ruling will make it more difficult for people to vote.

“It’s a slap in the face of democracy itself,” said Democratic Party Chairman Ben Wikler.

The court’s 4-3 ruling also has critical implications in the 2024 presidential race, in which Wisconsin will again be among a handful of battleground states. President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in 2020 by just under 21,000 votes, four years after Trump narrowly won the state by a similar margin.


The legal record will show that executives of the Cannabis retailer Ascend Wellness did not exert political pressure on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration by attending a December fundraiser and then meeting with state officials, its lawyer said.

Ascend Wellness filed a lawsuit in state court in January claiming that cannabis company MedMen failed to follow through on a $75 million deal to sell its New York operations to Ascend Wellness.

MedMen argued in court that Ascend was using “political pressure and undue influence to force” the state board’s approval.

But attorney Mylan Denerstein, who is representing Ascend, said Thursday that counsel for MedMen has agreed to withdraw that allegation.

“After we provided documentary evidence proving Medmen’s assertions were demonstrably wrong, they indicated they will withdraw their false allegations,” Denerstein said.

Court filings didn’t show MedMen had withdrawn its allegations as of Tuesday morning. MedMen didn’t immediately respond to request for comment Tuesday.

MedMen filed a counterclaim last month arguing Ascend Wellness executives attended a Manhattan fundraiser for Hochul, a Democrat, and met with state officials two days later on Dec. 10 — days before the state cannabis control board approved its deal with MedMen on Dec. 16.


BNSF railroad wants a federal judge to prevent two of its unions from going on strike next month over a new attendance policy that would penalize employees for missing work.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based railroad went to court after the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation union both threatened to strike over the new policy that is set to go into effect on Feb. 1.

The unions said they are surveying their 17,000 members who work for BNSF to see if workers will support a strike.

The heads of the two unions, BLET National President Dennis Pierce and SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson, said in a joint statement that the new policy would violate their contracts with BNSF and could provide an incentive for workers to show up when they are sick in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This unprecedented BNSF policy repudiates direct and clear contract language, and in application, will attempt to force our members to report for duty without regard for their medical condition as we struggle to come out of a pandemic,” Pierce and Ferguson said.

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