Lawsuit further exposes Resnick’s plans to clear cut oak woodlands

July 12, 2016
Hardham Ranch reservoir under construction.

Hardham Ranch reservoir under construction.

A lawsuit filed in 2012 provides a peek into how Justin Vineyards, a company owned by Beverly Hills billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick, clear cuts oak woodlands while constructing massive reservoirs that drain underground water sources in order to continue growing their agricultural empire.

In 2012, Keith Garl, the owner of A-1 Tree Service of Nipomo, filed a breach of contract lawsuit in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court against Justin Vineyards and Winery. Justin Vineyards had asked Garl to remove 17,000 trees, 15,000 of which were oak trees, from a 100 acre property on Chimney Rock Road west of Paso Robles.

For his work, Justin Vineyards agreed to pay Garl $200,000 and allow him to make a profit selling the wood. However, Justin Vineyards only paid Garl $60,000 and canceled the contact before Garl finished his work or sold the wood.

Representatives for Justin Vineyards said the company terminated Garl’s contract because he hadn’t met a deadline to clear cut the 100 acres within 90 days. Garl said Justin Vineyards had not informed him of the deadline.

In 2013, Judge Jac Crawford agreed with Garl and awarded him $444,112.

Starting in 2010 with the purchase of Justin Winery, Resnick, through his wholly-owned The Wonderful Company, has been purchasing multiple acreages in the Paso Robles area. Since then, Resnick company holdings have grown to more than 1,600 acres in San Luis Obispo County.

In late 2012, the Resnicks bought the 747 acre Hardham Ranch, which until then had been used for dry farming and cattle grazing. Within a short time, the Resnicks removed oak trees, planted vines and installed two large reservoirs said to hold a total of 184 acre feet of water, according to a 2013 CalCoastNews exclusive.

At the same time, the neighbors wells were going dry and Resnick employees were lobbying San Luis Obispo County Supervisors to promote a proposed Paso Robles basin water district. Earlier this year, voters rejected the proposed district by a 77 percent vote.

Water pipes laid out at Hardham Ranch

Water pipes laid out at Hardham Ranch

In 2016, Justin Vineyards and Winery violated San Luis Obispo County grading code when it removed thousands of oak trees from at property at 750 Sleepy Farm Road in rural Paso Robles. Workers removed the trees in preparation for planting a new vineyard that would be added to Justin Vineyards’ collection. The project also involves the construction of a 20-acre-foot water storage pond.

However, following community outrage, the Resnicks apologized and offered to donate the land to the county or the Land Conservancy.

On Friday, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will discuss passing an ordinance to protect oak woodlands and to place limits on water reservoirs.


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discloser

The water lines in that photo are NOT simple ag irrigation lines. They are of a size much more common to water infrastructure lines. Looks like they’re constructing a network of some sort. 184 acre feet of water is sufficient to supply 1300 (water conscious) residents for a year.


whoowhoo

Quick math

$200,000

17,000 trees

$11.76 per tree


Numbers don’t add up from where I sit


Side_Show_Bob

Firewood sales, which Garl was supposed to get. $300-350 per cord and there are lots and lots of cords per tree.


r0y

Or even 100 acres in 90 days – that is 1.11 acres a day with an average of 170 trees/acre (17,000 trees, 100 acres).


That’s a lot of cutting in a super short amount of time, baring some heavy duty demolition equipment…


BeenThereDoneThat

In the past we have given notable dignitaries like Gearhart and the child molester in Pismo, who’s name excapes me, person of the year. I say for Mr and Ms. Resnick we start a new award category……….Mr and Mrs Douchebag of the year.


kayaknut

The sooner the better that we all figure out that the ones with the money make the rules.


pasodowny

From the article:

“At the same time, the neighbors wells were going dry and Resnick employees were lobbying San Luis Obispo County Supervisors to promote a proposed Paso Robles basin water district.”


Please don’t forget the biggest proponent of the water district was supervisor Bruce Gibson, followed closely by Adam Hill and Adam’s “protege” Caren Ray. If you think Bruce has SLO County’s best interest at heart, think again. Thankfully, Ms. Ray (appointed-but-never-anointed) was voted out. Hopefully, come November, the same will come of our county idiot Hill. Then Gibson can twist.


Russ J

Greed bags – never enough money and power for these “wonderful” people. Once you pass 50 million, it’s all about power, control and sh__ing on the little people.


Mariposa

Check SLO County Board of Supervisors website here for the Friday, July 15, Agenda for the Special Meeting: http://agenda.slocounty.ca.gov/agenda/sanluisobispo/728/QWdlbmRh/6/n/63478.doc


Per Mickie (sp?) at County Board of Supervisors main phone number, public comment will be allowed immediately prior to each of the two Agenda items at this Special Meeting.


smile4thecamera

Board of Supervisors: Do the right thing and pass an ordinance to protect the oaks. You’d better do something about Mr. Wonderful stockpiling water, too.


justbeware

Greedy, greedy, greedy!

So often, people with more $$$ than sense think they can do whatever the h*ll they want.

Sadly, the Resnick’s are not alone in their belief that they’re somehow entitled, they’re connected to others here (Hill, Gibson etc) with the same mindset.


Mr. Holly

Will the Hillary defense be used if they think they intended to do no harm?


ThomasAquinas

So let’s see if I understand this. The county has known for 3 YEARS, the math was simple, that Wonderful Co. was going to clear cut this area. Nothing was done. I believe that the county is responsible for this devastation. I believe in property rights, has long has no harm is done to another. The county KNEW the intentions of removing the trees, grading the hills, sucking out the water, changing the erosion patterns and did nothing?


Hill, Gibson, Katcho all knew this before the voting of keeping county water control, again proving Bruce and his pals are so corrupt. Debbie and Frank are also to blame, allowing this permit not to get the light of day.


The lives of people are complicated, that is why these government agencies and their appointees are given employment. To see issues before they become monsters. Development, if corralled, can be acceptable, making our community better and self controlled. But when we allow corporations and developers to side step transparency then we must FIRE ’em all.


Starting with FIRE ADAM HILL, then clear cuttin’ the board and their minions. It can’t get any worse. In the words of the great philosopher POGO, “we have met the enemy and he is us”…..


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