Larry Ellison now snapping up Lake Tahoe lakefront real estate

“Since the mid-1990s, software billionaire Larry Ellison has accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars worth of top-shelf properties around the world,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Mr. Ellison has been applying this approach to a new location: Lake Tahoe, the resort area straddling the California-Nevada border. Records show Mr. Ellison has spent $102 million in the last several years buying property, both on and off the market, to assemble three different parcels fronting the 191-square-mile lake.

“On one of them, purchased over three years for a total of $58 million, Mr. Ellison is constructing a compound with more than 18,000 square feet of living space as well as a pond with an island, waterfalls and a tennis court with a pavilion, according to plans submitted to Washoe County, Nev.

“Lake Tahoe, with its pristine waters and world-class skiing, has long been a seductive draw for Bay Area residents. Incline Village, the town on the Nevada side of the lake where Mr. Ellison has made a number of his buys, bears the nickname ‘Income Village’ for its wealthy residents and its reputation as a tax haven (Nevada has no personal income tax).

“In Incline Village, locals say Mr. Ellison’s presence has been relatively free of controversy. Neighbors say his compound evokes the feel of old Tahoe and that Mr. Ellison has done a meticulous job of making sure the house fits into the surroundings. “It’s in keeping with the rustic atmosphere of the mountain community,” says Mr. Busick, who has since downsized to a condominium a few doors away from Mr. Ellison.”

The rest of the article is here.

Craigslist, eBay flooded with Burning Man tickets

Here are the Burning Man tickets for sale on Craigslist, because the event has sold out for the firt time in 25 years:

Jul 26 – Burning man ticket – (e-mail me) tickets – by owner
Jul 25 – Birthday girl in need of Burning Man Ticket – $450 (everywhere) tickets – by owner
Jul 25 – Burning Man Tickets – $300 (Everywhere) tickets – by owner pic
Jul 25 – )'( 2 Burning Man Tickets Wanted for Two Amazing Women – $280 Per )'( – $560 (Sacto to SF Bay Area) items wanted
Jul 25 – burningman ticket needed! i have cash$ – $400 (anywhere!) items wanted
Jul 25 – WANTED BURNING MAN TICKET 🙂 PLZ 🙂 – $300 (Davis, CA) tickets – by owner
Jul 25 – Boyfriend Needs Burning Man Ticket Please! – $250 (Northern CA) items wanted pic
Jul 25 – NEEDED Burning Man Tix, I have CASH and willing to drive – $400 items wanted
Jul 25 – Burning Man Ticket – $450 (Midtown Sac) tickets – by owner
Jul 25 – 1 Burning Man Tix Needed – $500 tickets – by owner
Jul 25 – NEEDED: Burning Man ticket CASH IN HAND FRIDAY will drive anywhere – $300 items wanted
Jul 25 – Wanted: Burning Man Ticket – $280 (Davis, CA) items wanted pic
Jul 25 – 2 Burning Man Tickets Wanted! – $750 tickets – by owner

NEWS
Tickets For Burning Man 2011 Sold Out

Tickets for Burning Man 2011 have sold out. For the first time in 25 years of holding the Burning Man event, we have had to cut off ticket sales before the event. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees the Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area, requires us to manage growth in line with the previous year’s population in order to comply with our use permit. As a result, Burning Man has exercised its oft-stated right to cap ticket sales.

Tickets will NOT be sold at the Burning Man Gate, nor at Walk-In Outlets. If you don’t have a ticket, do NOT show up at the Gate. If you choose to purchase tickets from a third party, please take precautions to ensure their authenticity before you purchase them to avoid counterfeits and scams. If you are selling your ticket, we strongly encourage you to sell it at face value, or better yet, gift it! Information on how to buy and sell third-party tickets more safely can be found here on our ticket page.

For those considering venturing out to Black Rock City without a ticket to “try your luck” purchasing one at or near the entrance to Burning Man, we ask that you do NOT do so, for your own safety and the well-being of the surrounding communities. The Black Rock Desert is an extremely remote, inhospitable environment with limited resources, minimal facilities, and few camping opportunities in the vicinity. You will NOT be allowed to camp overnight anywhere near the event site, and the nearest campgrounds are over an hour’s drive away. 

Local Harpist Joanna Newsom: from NYT to Saturday Night Live

Our resident county harpist and music sensation Joanna Newsom is getting more ink nowadays, ranging from the New York Times magazine to People magazine.

Newsom — the daughter of doctors Bill and Christine Newsom — is profiled in a lengthly article in the New York Times magazine.

The Times calls Joanna one of indie music’s “leading lights.” It refers to her hometown of Nevada City as a “bucolic Northern California town with a reputation as a counterculture bastion,” as well as to an interview at the National Hotel, “a landmarked building on Nevada City’s hilly main drag.”

The article is here.

Joanna’s also getting some ink in People mangazine and the Washington Post. According to media accounts, she’s dating Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live fame.

According to the Post: “Andy Samberg (black denim, black top, big hair) venturing into the White House’s Northwest Gate Monday morning holding hands with singer-harpist Joanna Newsom. Also with some guy in a hoodie. Turns out that Maureen Dowd spotted the couple dining at Blue Duck on Sunday (Newsom’s playing the Sixth & I Synagogue on Tuesday) and arranged for the ‘Saturday Night Live’ star to visit his comedic avatar Rahm Emanuel. (Actually, she suggested Samberg go to the Hill that night to help double-team any health-care holdouts; apparently he wasn’t needed.)”

The details are here.

The Union publisher/editor sues local family in tragic incident

Jeff Ackerman, the publisher/editor of The Union, has filed a civil lawsuit against Jim Knight of Lake Wildwood, alleging “bodily injury and emotional distress” involving an incident that occurred at the newspaper on Oct. 20, according to public documents on file in Nevada County Superior Court.

Ackerman is seeking $1 million in punitive damages, including $250,000 for “pain, suffering and inconvenience” $250,000 for “emotional distress” and $3,200 for “medical expenses,” according to the documents.

The $1 million claim “adds insult to injury,” said Brad Thomas, Knight’s lawyer, who claims “willful and wanton conduct on (Ackerman’s) own part proximately caused and contributed to the happening of the incident in question.”

Thomas said he was referring to a column Ackerman wrote on Oct. 20 about the death of Knight’s daughter. “It’s tough to keep a 17-year-old’s death by heroin overdose a secret, try as some might to put a pretty picture on it,” the column said in part. Knight is the golf pro at Lake Wildwood.

Knight’s response also claims “(Ackerman) initially attacked (Knight) and if, in fact, defendant committed any assault on plaintiff, said action was performed to protect the person and property of the defandant and was performed in self defense.”

The actual amount of damages in the case will be “according to proof,” however, said Craig Diamond, Ackerman’s lawyer.

The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 20, and Knight’s wife later was served with the complaint at their home after two previous attempts failed, according to court documents. Knight responded to the allegations on Jan. 22.

No one in the local media — The Union, KNCO, KVMR, the Nevada City Advocate or Yubanet — has reported on the case, though it is a matter of public record and civil legal cases are routinely reported in the media.

“I have no idea,” Diamond answered as to why the case had not been covered in the media. “I’m not the decider.”

Some friends of Knight family members have attempted to contact the local media, including KNCO, KVMR and Yubanet, to tell their story — but without any success, according to a Facebook page they created. (The details are on the posts).

Thomas said Knight was fully aware that the case was a matter of public record and that he might be identified.

A case management conference for the case (75539) is set for April 5 at the county courthouse.

Ackerman’s column was titled “Heroin menace lurks within our midst.”

It began: “A 17-year-old Penn Valley girl died of a heroin overdose one recent Sunday morning, and four days later Grass Valley police raided a home on Doris Drive, where they arrested 10 people for selling, using or trying to buy heroin.

“I connect the two because I think there’s a connection.

“This is a small town and you hear things. It’s tough to keep a 17-year-old’s death by heroin overdose a secret, try as some might to put a pretty picture on it.”

On The Union’s website some readers complained it was insensitive and unnecessary to include the information. Others alleged it was incorrect or inconclusive.

“How could you do this to a family that is obviously in pain?” one reader wrote on The Union’s site.

According to a Grass Valley police report on Oct. 20, there were “multiple reports advising of an employee who was just assaulted by a male subject wearing a red sweatshirt” at The Union’s offices.

“Contact was made at The Union who declined (a citizen’s arrest). Knight was admonished not to return or face trespassing,” according to the blotter item.

The Union reported the police blotter item but no more details.

“Defendant Jim Knight, intentionally and without justifiable cause struck plaintiff Jeffrey Ackerman, causing him to fall to the ground,” according to the complaint. “As a result of the conduct of the defendant, the plaintiff suffered bodily injury and emotional distress.”

Knight’s complaint said, “by reason of the doctrine of comparative negligence, plaintiff is barred from recovery, in whole and/or in part, of such portion of said damages, if any, as proximately resulted from the aforementioned conduct.”

The county district attorney has not pressed any charges over the incident.

UPDATE: I posted the legal documents here based on reader requests. This story is based on publicly available court documents, as well as interviews with the attorneys from both sides. Anybody can get copies of such documents at the county courthouse or (in the case of the police blotter item) at the Grass Valley police department. This is not “investigative journalism” — it is routine police/court reporting.