Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 | 4:17 p.m.
A state judge on Tuesday ordered the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas not to rent out as hotel rooms about 150 units that are the subject of litigation between the new Strip resort and would-be condominium buyers.
Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez granted in part a motion for a preliminary injunction sought by condominium buyers who complained the Cosmopolitan wanted to both seize their purchase deposits held in escrow and rent out as hotel rooms the units that are the subject of litigation.
The condominium buyers say that once they see the units they'll decide whether to buy them or demand refunds of some $30 million in deposits they've put up.
One of the law firms involved in the case, in the meantime, announced that some 100-150 condominium purchasers plan to protest the situation at tomorrow's opening of the resort.
"Purchasers of condominiums at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas have been trying for years to receive accurate information about the property they purchased and hundreds have retained counsel to either get this information, buy the property as it was promised to them in contract, or get their money back from escrow due to fraudulent behavior from (Cosmopolitan owner) Deutsche Bank and their partners," the law firm of Lurie & Park in Encino, Calif., said. "These purchasers have not been invited to the opening of the property, nor can they get in to see their condominiums that they have put hundreds of thousands of dollars down as down payment."
In their motion for a preliminary injunction, attorneys for some of the condominium purchasers charged: "Defendants are on the verge of opening the Cosmopolitan as a hotel on Dec. 15 and will attempt to rent out the plaintiffs' units to the general public. Since defendants do not own these condominium units, they have no right to do so and renting them out will cause wear and tear and potential damage to those units."
"The Cosmopolitan has also expressed its intent to appropriate the plaintiffs' earnest money deposits" by falsely claiming the buyers have defaulted, the attorneys charged.
The would-be buyers claim it's the Cosmopolitan that's in default since it reduced the number of condominium units from more than 2,100 to 292 and changed the character of the property so that condo owners will be "interspersed among 2,700 noisy, transient hotel guests and receive none of the exclusive owner-amenities they were promised."
Lisa Lawrence, an attorney for the buyers, said today's ruling by Gonzalez affects about 150 of the 200-plus units at the Cosmopolitan now planned as condominium units.
Attorneys for the Cosmopolitan have insisted they're living up to the condominium sales contracts and will deliver condominiums to any of the buyers who still want to buy them.