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2 Suits Settled, May Clear Way for School Sale

February 28, 1985|RALPH CIPRIANO | Times Staff Writer

NORWALK — After five years of trying, the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District finally may be able to sell the unused Wright School campus.

District officials last week settled two lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court with former developers that had kept the district from offering the downtown campus for sale during much of 1984.

Howard Rainey, the district's director of business services, said the district will solicit and consider offers for the downtown campus from 50 developers who have expressed interest in buying the land. The 21-acre campus probably will be sold this summer, Rainey said.

Plans for developing the land will be reviewed by city officials, who would have approval over any proposed development, Rainey said.

In the settlement approved last week, Santa Fe Springs developer Johnny Johnson agreed to drop a lawsuit that had stymied the district in its efforts to sell the property during the past year and the district agreed to drop a countersuit that sought $75,000 a month in damages from Johnson for preventing a sale through his lawsuit.

Escrow Funds Released

The district also dropped a suit against Eastern Global of Tokyo in exchange for that developer's release of a $850,000 binder the firm had put in escrow in an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the property. Under the settlement, the company also agreed to pay the district an additional $5,000.

Under a deal worked out in 1980 with the district, Eastern Global was to purchase the Wright School campus for $7.2 million and build a hotel on the property and Johnson was to develop a poker club there. But the deal fell through last March when Eastern Global defaulted on an escrow payment.

Johnson later sued the school district, claiming its officials conspired with Eastern Global to cut him out of the deal.

Rainey said Johnson is not on the list of 50 potential developers. Johnson said he has not decided whether he will attempt to purchase the property, but said he had no "hard feelings" against district officials.

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