Stockton ensnared in suit over site

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John Stockton, NBA Hall of Famer and former Utah Jazz point guard, speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Bozeman, Mont. Stockton is a new assistant coach for the Montana State women's NCAA college basketball team. (Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

COOLIN — A jury trial is approaching in a civil suit over a coveted piece of Priest Lake property purchased by former NBA star John Stockton.

The litigation dates back to 2016, when the former Utah Jazz point guard and Plummer Forest Products President Todd Brinkmeyer purchased the Warren Beach Road property for $2.5 million, according to a suit pending in 1st District Court. Stockton and Brinkmeyer then transferred ownership to PLMB, a limited-liability corporation in Spokane.

However, at the time the sale went through, the Warren estate already had a purchase agreement in place with Tricore, a Coeur d’Alene LLC.

Tricore filed suit against the Warren estates and its representatives, in addition to Stockton, Brinkmeyer and PLMB.

Stockton, according to court documents, is accused of cherry-picking the property in order to keep it from being developed.

“I always thought it was wetlands,” Stockton said during a deposition, adding that he is “ecologically minded.”

The suit alleged more than a half-dozen causes of action including breach of contract, interference with business expectancy, fraud, negligence and violating the Idaho Consumer Protection Act. The action also seeks $5 million in damages and nullification of the sale to the defendants.

Counsel for the defendants have denied the allegations and argues Tricore lacks the evidence to support its claims, in addition to scores of additional affirmative defenses such as mutual mistake, contributory negligence and comparative fault, court records show.

The sale of the property to Tricore was due to close in October 2016, but the Warren estate’s co-representatives — Daniel and Christopher Warren — sold it to Stockton and Brinkmeyer the previous month, according to court documents.

The defendants were aware of the pending sale to Tricore when they purchased the property and even executed a $100,000 indemnification agreement in case the sale caused legal blowback, the plaintiffs allege.

Stockton contends he has possessed a verbal right-of-first-refusal agreement with the Warren family to potentially acquire the property since approximately 1990, court records indicate.

Much of the litigation survived cross motions for summary judgment, according to court documents. Judge Barbara Buchanan, however, dismissed fraud Idaho Consumer Protection Act claims against the defendants because they did not have a contractual relationship with the plaintiff.

A jury trial is scheduled to get underway in Sandpoint on Oct. 23.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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