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Various Authors 6:38 p.m., Sept. 24
After a long legal struggle and political infighting, it now appears all but certain that Warner Springs Ranch -- featuring hot springs, horse stables and golf course -- will be purchased by the Pala Band of Mission Indians, who occupied the area for generations and were booted out by the U.S. government more than 100 years ago.
"The last major impediment to the close of escrow on the sale" has been removed, says Greg Maizlish, San Diego attorney who is vice president and a board member of the Warner Springs Ranchowners Association. One litigation matter has been settled, and a second, a lien placed against the property, was removed at a recent court hearing, says David Gee, president of the association.
Essentially, the long-running internal feud was between members who lived far away, and seldom used the ranch, and those who lived in the nearby Los Tules area, who used it frequently. "We are targeting a 12/31/11 date that escrow will close and the ranch will close," says Gee. Then Pala can proceed with "sorely-needed upgrades." Pala will pay $20.5 million, which will go to the 1000 owners of the ranch. There will be a celebration December 30 and 31 at the ranch, featuring the band Night Shift, according to Maizlish.