Buddhists considering religious discrimination lawsuit in wake of monorail decision

Local News

A Las Vegas Monorail station at Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road. Land at the corner is owned by the World Buddhism Association Headquarters.

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Buddhist group is considering a religious discrimination lawsuit in the aftermath of a judge’s ruling that approved the $22 million sale of the Las Vegas Monorail to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).

Another lawsuit previously filed by the World Buddhism Association Headquarters (WBAH) failed to stop the sale.

Weiya Noble, a member of the WBAH board of directors, said Monday, “This is definitely not the end to it.”

Noble said the Buddhist group cannot understand why their property rights have been ignored by the court, and described the decision to allow others to sell parts of their property as bullying.

“It’s really a huge insult to us — to the organization,” she said.

The Las Vegas Monorail filed for bankruptcy protection in September after making little to no money because of the COVID-19 shutdown. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Natalie Cox said last week she would approve the sale of the company to the LVCVA.

Property purchased for $17.5 million in the summer of 2018 to build a Buddhist temple near the corner of Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road includes three easements that have become sticking points. The easements, which pre-dated the sale to the WBAH, are used by the monorail to allow access from the 12.2-acre property, which at one time was a parking lot for the Sahara.

“What we are trying to assert is that we are the owner of the property,” Noble said. “Not only the land. We are the owner of one pair of escalators and the elevator.”

Noble said the Las Vegas Monorail company expected WBAH to provide insurance and maintenance for the facilities on the easements, and the WBAH complied.

But the latest developments disregard the Buddhists’ property rights, she said.

“Buddhists have always been known to be very tolerant. We try to internalize, and to bear within for justice,” Noble said. “We are not known for fighting back. Probably, they feel, ‘You should just go back to the mountain.'”

Instead, the WBAH is consulting its attorneys.

“The company is already gone,” Noble said. “We don’t know what they are going to do with this lot. We have a right to know.”

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