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Glorieta suit to head to top court

SANTA FE, N.M. — Kirk Tompkins, a business consultant from Little Rock, Ark., hasn’t given up on a lawsuit disputing the sale of the former Glorieta Conference Center, even after losing in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in December.

Tompkins and his wife Susie claimed in a lawsuit that the 2,400-acre property was not properly transferred from LifeWay Christian Resources, publishing house for the Southern Baptist Convention, to Texas-based Glorieta 2.0, which has converted the property to a Christian youth camp.

Glorieta 2.0 bought the property for $1 in 2013. He says the sale required approval by the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee, which didn’t happen.

“After 41 months in court, Tompkins Family, in consideration of all former Glorieta residents, continues to move beyond ‘procedural dismissals’ asking the United State Supreme Court to examine all documented allegations the lower courts never adjudicated,” he wrote in an email distributed to dozens of people last month.

The Tompkinses were among 63 individuals, families and entities, many of them churches and universities, that owned homes on land that they were leasing at the time of the sale. Glorieta 2.0, which also does business as Glorieta Camps, settled leases with all but the Tompkinses, who plan to file a certiorari petition in the highest court in the country after the U.S. District Court in Denver and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them.

Tompkins, who filed his original lawsuit pro se, said in a recent phone interview that he has until mid-April to file the petition and he plans to do it.

“I respect both of the lower courts that we were in; I’m a great believer in justice,” he said. “But both courts dismissed on procedural grounds, not on its merits. That gives me the right to file in the Supreme Court to hear the allegations, and this latest document from Santa Fe County certainly helps.”

Tompkins was referring to a cease and desist order issued by the county last week after inspectors found numerous issues related to construction and waste disposal at the site.

The federal appeals court affirmed a district court ruling that the Tompkinses lacked standing, that it was correct to dismiss an “implied contract” claim, and that charges of fraud were insufficient.

But the lawsuit also included allegations of environmental and permit violations. Tompkins says the Supreme Court can utilize that and new information as it becomes available.

Tompkins says he’s not just pursuing the lawsuit for his family’s benefit. He’s doing it for the other 60 homeowners who were told they had to leave the property.

“These people were cheated, and I’m trying to stand up for them,” he said. “I’ll continue to push that in the court and I now have a clear path to go to the United States Supreme Court.”

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