By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The grandson of Walt Disney is asking the Wyoming Supreme Court to block the sale of his family’s ranch in Teton County until his appeal of a lower court’s decision on the issue can be heard.
The Wyoming Supreme Court is set to hear on Oct. 20 Bradford Disney Lund’s appeal of a lower court’s decision in January to dismiss his lawsuit challenging the sale of the ranch near Wilson he owns with his sister.
On Monday, Lund’s attorneys filed a request for an emergency stay to block the sale of the ranch by the family’s trustees to a third party until Lund’s appeal is decided.
“Absent a stay in this matter, the status quo will be effected and (Lund), if successful on appeal, will be unable to receive the relief he seeks on appeal because title to the (Eagle South Fork) Ranch will have already been transferred to a third party,” the request said.
The filing is the latest in Lund’s attempt to keep trustees from selling the 110-acre Eagle South Fork ranch near Wilson against his will.
The ranch has been in the family since Disney Lund’s father, William Lund, purchased it more than 40 years ago.
“This is purely an estate-trafficking case, and it is being managed by predatory trustees and their attorneys,” Bradford Lund said in a statement.
The ranch has remained in residuary trusts for Bradford Lund and his sister following the death of their mother, Sharon Disney Lund.
Lund is challenging efforts by the trustees to sell the ranch to a third party, saying it would be a violation of his mother’s wishes that the ranch remain available for the use of her children.
Lund filed a lawsuit in state district court in Teton County to stop the trustees from selling the ranch and seeking a court order to make trustees comply with an earlier agreement to have the trust set up for Lund’s benefit pay $9.79 million to buy the half of the ranch held in the trust set up for his sister. The purchase would make Lund sole owner of the ranch.
The trustees then moved to dismiss the case to California instead of Wyoming because they claimed it was more convenient. The court granted that motion and dismissed the case.
Immediately after the decision was announced in January, trustees announced they had an offer from a third party to buy the ranch.
Lund is appealing the state district court’s decision, saying the judge abused his discretion when it found that “the private- and public-interest factors strongly outweighed the deference owed to (Lund’s) choice of forum,” according to a brief filed with the Supreme Court.
In his appeal Lund insists that the decision on the sale of Eagle South Fork be determined by Wyomingites that are close to the property and understand its true value and worth.
“This ranch is my favorite place in the world, and my trustees are acting against my wishes by ripping it away from me,” said Lund. “The trustees are the only ones who will benefit from the sale of the ranch, they will receive a 2% fee on the sale in addition to more trustee fees. They have shown their hostility towards me for over 11 years and are not doing what my mom wanted.”
The legal action is one of several involving Lund and the trustees. He is suing in California courts over their management of five separate trusts established for his benefit.