April 6, 2005

Jethro’s Standoff

Jethro’s back on the front page again. You’ll remember Max Baer Jr. from when he bought the old Wal*Mart building with plans to turn it into a Beverly Hillbillies Casino. Those plans were met with opposition by his neighbors in the Southgate shopping center, and when he took them to court, he lost, and the judge said he couldn’t build the casino without consent from the shopping center owners and JC Penney. Baer vowed that he’d keep the building empty just to spite everyone, and he’s stayed true to his word.

Now the news comes out that Wal*Mart approached old Jethro with an offer to buy the building back, for more than he paid for it. It seems they want the property back so they can build a Sam’s Club there. But Jethro is still holding firm and refusing to sell. “I have more money than I do time,” he said. And even though the mayor of Carson City has weighed in on the issue, in favor of the Sam’s Club, it won’t be happening. “My attitude is this is the United States of America, and I get to do with my property what I want to do with it,” says Jethro. And what he wants to do with it is leave the building empty until somebody else caves. This is turning into quite the standoff, even though it’s not as if there are tons of buyers lined up with ideas for the building. I mean, at the opposite end of town sits the old Super Kmart, which is actually bigger in square footage and has been vacant almost as long as the Wal*Mart. And nobody wants that place, even though they’re actively trying to sell it.

So, I don’t see any end to this in sight. Jethro put up a sign on the building that says, bascially, that he owns the building and it is not for sale. I have a picture of that somewhere. I’ll post it as soon as I can find it. Update: here it is. Also, here’s a new story that the city may consider adding the building to the redevelopment district, and even using eminent domain to take it and do something productive with it.

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