FOR YEARS THE LEGAL BATTLE OVER THE TAYLOR RANCH PITTED THE LOCALS AGAINST A WEALTHY OUTSIDER. NOW THEY'RE FIGHTING THE STATE--AND EACH OTHER.THIS LAND IS MY LAND FOR SALE: 77,000 ACRES. COLORFUL HISTORY. EASY ACCESS TO LOCAL RANGE WAR. INQUIRE WITHIN.
In his dissenting opinion, Justice Anthony Vollack wrote that reopening the Taylor case "is counter to the public policy of this state because it creates uncertainty...and fails to keep title secure and marketable."
But that's precisely what the Land Rights Council is counting on: If nothing else, members say, the ruling could hamper Taylor's efforts to sell the ranch to outsiders and keep the price down for local acquisition. Some even figure the lawsuit is worth about $15 million in leverage--the difference between the state's offer, which was based on an appraisal that took into account the ongoing litigation, and Taylor's asking price.
The ruling has also given the Land Rights Council, an almost invisible organization during the years of endless appeals, new currency in San Luis.
"No one knows who speaks for the community," says Maria Mondragon-Valdez. "We all have our constituencies, and ours include a lot of people of few words, including the old-timers. But the Colorado Supreme Court knows who we are. If we win the lawsuit, we'll have a line of people from here to the state border waiting to get up there."