The Interior Department and Japanese-owned MCA Inc. agreed Tuesday on the sale of MCA's concession facilities at Yosemite National Park to a non-profit foundation.
The ownership by MCA, a Los-Angeles-based entertainment conglomerate, of Yosemite Park & Curry Co., had been strongly criticized by Interior Secretary Manual Lujan Jr. ever since MCA was purchased Dec. 29 by Matsushita Electrical Industries, a major Japanese electronics company.Lujan said that under the agreement MCA would sell its Curry subsidiary to the National Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress, for $49.5 million in 1993 when the government's contract with Curry expires.
Curry operates a broad range of facilities in the park east of San Francisco including about half the hotels, restaurants, recreational facilities and souvenir shops.
The agreement ends weeks of verbal sparring between Lujan and with representatives of MCA and Matsushita over operation of the Yosemite facilities by a company owned by foreigners. Lujan accused Matsushita of ``arrogance' and threatened to cancel Curry's contract in one of the ``crown jewels' of the federal park system for failure to observe a provision requiring his approval for a change of ownership of concessionaires.
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Matsushita and MCA representatives, meanwhile, accused Lujan of trying to extort Curry's assets, estimated by the company as being ``in excess of $100 million,' by coercing them into giving the concessions to the National Park Service for nothing.
The sale price for Curry was about half of what MCA has said the Yosemite facilities are valued, but about what the Interior Department has said they are worth. In return for allowing the concessions to remain in MCA hands until 1993, MCA agreed to donate $6 million to the Park Foundation and provide a below-market loan for the eventual purchase.