PROVO — It appears the saga over the future of Bridal Veil Falls isn't over just yet.
Richard Losee, founder of the Cirque Lodge Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Center, filed a lawsuit in 4th District Court against Utah County and 10 unnamed individuals on Wednesday, according to court records.
The lawsuit alleges that Utah County improperly listed the 22-acre plot of land, which the county purchased for $2.3 million, as surplus property "in an apparent effort to avoid statutory disposition requirements." The county's code specifies that only property valued at $1,500 or less can fall under that category.
"The Commission's attempt to avoid the legal requirements for dealing with the Bridal Veil Falls Property by way of nomenclature only seeks to emulate Humpty Dumpty's claim that 'When I use a word it means just what I chose it to mean – neither more nor less,'" the suit alleges.
The Utah County Commission voted unanimously in favor of a plan to shift ownership of the land to the nonprofit land trust conservation association Utah Open Lands and grant a conservation easement during a meeting on Dec. 9. An easement bars any future development on the property.
The county alerted the public of the hearing of it in advance, which is when details of Losee's proposal were revealed. Losee proposed to build a private lodge on the mountainside near Bridal Veil Falls and a tram to it. Under the proposal, the rest of the land not used for development would be transferred back for conservation.
Various city councils in Utah County also passed resolutions that urged the county to issue an easement as word of the development plan came out.
Losee's representatives tried to persuade the county to delay a vote on the matter until they could present the plan. After a long hearing on Dec. 9, the commission voted for the conservation easement instead.
The lawsuit blasted attacks on the plan, as well. The suit states "the commission was bombarded by misrepresentations (to put it kindly) and vicious personal attacks on Commissioners and on Plaintiff." It also alleges that the easement was granted to "prevent a future Board of County Commissioners ('Commission') from allowing some other use of the Bridal Veil Falls Property."
The lawsuit seeks that a judge invalidates the county's "disposal of the conservation easement on the Bridal Veil Falls property."
The county commission hasn't commented on the lawsuit or responded to it in court. Records show no court dates have been set up for the case.
Former Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie called the lawsuit "mind-boggling" in an interview with the Daily Herald, adding that the county went through the correct legal process during the process of shift land management.