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Mariposa owners to get bond debt report

Mariposa property owners will get a progress report next month on the $16 million in bond debt that has been looming over them ever since developer High Desert Investment Corp. abruptly abandoned the community last summer.

Brian Crumbaker, an attorney with Tallahassee, Fla.-based Hopping, Green and Sams who represents the bondholders, told the Journal he is organizing a meeting April 25 at Rio Rancho City Hall where he will discuss proposals to restructure the bonds.

An announcement this week that the land brokerage firm of Land Advisors Organization in Scottsdale, Ariz. has teamed with Westwood Realty of Albuquerque to list about 900 acres of undeveloped land at Mariposa was a positive step for the restructuring negotiations, Crumbaker said.

Mariposa property owners were outraged in June when High Desert announced it was withdrawing from the far north Rio Rancho community and would not honor an agreement to continue subsidizing the bond payments. At the time, High Desert board member Gary Gordon said the company had already listed land it owned at Mariposa with Land Advisors.

High Desert issued the bonds using the Public Improvement District (PID) mechanism, which allows a developer to sell bonds backed by tax payments from property owners to pay for infrastructure.

The company’s departure meant Mariposa property owners could see their PID tax payments increase from $9.50 per $1,000 of the property’s taxable value to $110 per $1,000.

Under an agreement reached in August between bondholders and High Desert, the developer consented to turn over several hundred acres of undeveloped land it still owned at Mariposa to a financial institution controlled by the bondholders in return for being released from any further obligations.

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