A developer's proposal to relocate a cherished Boy Scouts camp could be thwarted by failure to follow through on purchasing property for a new site.
The current owner of the Ridge at Sunup Bay, Mountain West Bank, has filed legal action against Discovery Coeur d'Alene Investors, LLC for breaching an agreement to purchase the property.
The limited liability company, which is tied to developer Discovery Land Company, has failed to fulfill the $4.5 million purchase agreement for the shoreline property, according to the suit filed in District Court last week.
Mountain West Bank is demanding the plaintiff hand over $150,000 to compensate for the failed deal.
"Mountain West Bank made reasonable efforts to close the transaction," the lawsuit reads. "Despite its best efforts, DCDA has failed to fulfill its obligations under the purchase of sale agreement."
This could toss a wrench into a land swap that Discovery Land Company has offered to the Inland Northwest Council Boy Scouts of America.
Under the swap, the Arizona-based developer would acquire the current Camp Easton property at Gotham Bay - if the company purchases the Sunup Bay property, rebuilds the camp there, then hands over the property and new facilities to the nonprofit.
But the crumbling of the Sunup purchase leaves no land to swap, pointed out Jeff Crandall, legal representative of Camp Easton Forever, Inc., a nonprofit aimed at preventing the exchange.
"I admit with enough money, you could go back to the bank and probably mend fences and put this deal back on the table," Crandall said. "But right now, they're certainly not in the position to be able to perform."
According to the lawsuit, Mountain West Bank and Discovery Coeur d'Alene entered into a real estate purchase and sale agreement this May.
Discovery Coeur d'Alene agreed to tender $100,000 to North Idaho Title Company, Inc. as non-refundable earnest money on the sale, a figure later amended to $150,000.
The property sale was agreed to close on Sept. 30, but Discovery Coeur d'Alene "failed to perform its obligations under the PSA" on that date, the suit reads.
Mountain West Bank has since demanded the plaintiff release the $150,000 as damages for the breach of contract, the suit reads, without result.
The bank is now requesting the court enter a judgment of $150,000 against the defendant, and that it direct North Idaho Title to provide the earnest money.
It also requests attorneys fees if the judgment is taken by default.
In the purchase agreement attached to the lawsuit, the buyer is labeled as Discovery Coeur d'Alene Investors, a Delaware LLC. The selling agency and responsible broker is Gozzer Ranch Properties, LLC.
Gozzer Ranch golf and lake club is one of Discovery Land Company's projects in the area.
According to documents on the Secretary of State's website, the address of Discovery Coeur d'Alene's manager is in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the headquarters of Discovery Land Company are located.
Spokespeople at Gozzer Ranch Properties did not return voicemails on Friday.
Tim McCandless, scout executive of the INC, said he hadn't heard of the breach or the lawsuit.
Without knowing the details, he said, he couldn't comment on how this would affect the land swap.
"I'm taken by surprise," McCandless said. "I don't know anything."
Mountain West Bank attorney Wayne Sweney said he isn't authorized to say whether the sale could still potentially occur.
McCandless has said that Discovery has offered to buy 270 acres at Sunup Bay. The company had also offered to build all new facilities there and provide a $2.5 million endowment for maintenance and improvements at scout camps.
Crandall raised concern about the sales agreement dating back to May, preceding public forums the INC held in August to garner input on the proposal.
"That would've been quite a gamble for anyone to do, without pretty strong assurances that you had a deal," he said.
McCandless said he has always revealed the proposal was made this spring.
He couldn't speak for Discovery on the contract timing, he added.
McCandless repeated that the INC board will not make a decision before getting feedback from regional scout volunteers and families.
"There is no intention to make any decision until the Boy Scout board has what they feel is full information on all aspects of the proposal," he said.