Punitive damages sought in dispute

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COOLIN — The stakes could be elevating in a civil suit involving former NBA standout John Stockton.

Counsel for Tricore Investments is moving to seek punitive damages against the famed Utah Jazz point guard and timber executive Todd Brinkmeyer, who are accused of buying a piece of property out from under the Coeur d’Alene development company

Tricore’s attorney contends Stockton and Brinkmeyer turned down offers to purchase the Warren Beach property in 2014 and 2015, before it was listed for sale. Stockton, according to a deposition, did not believe the parcel could be developed due to the presence of wetlands on the property and therefore saw no need to acquire it.

The defendants’ interest in the property was renewed, however, when Brinkmeyer was shown Tricore’s plan for developing the property, Tricore’s Spokane attorney Kevin Roberts said in court documents.

“Stockton and Brinkmeyer apparently needed to know there was something of value to take before he and Stockton intentionally interfered in the sale,” Roberts wrote in court documents.

Tricore was in the process of acquiring the $2.4 million Warren Beach property when the estate which owned it pivoted and sold to Stockton and Brinkmeyer, who transferred the purchase to a limited-liability corporation called PLMB, which is also a defendant in the suit filed by Tricore. Tricore argues Brinkmeyer and Stockton directed the estate to repudiate the pending sale and hid their acquisition of the property by concealing the transaction from the real estate broker for the property, court documents say.

Stockton and Brinkmeyer are further accused of conspiring with the Selkirk Conservation Alliance to gain control of the property by creating a “phantom entity” or persuading other Warren Beach landowners to file an easement across the property in order to cloud the title, which was meant to slow or kill the Tricore transaction, according to court documents.

“As the court can see from the pleadings, the defendants are taking the position that they should be allowed to intentionally destroy Tricore’s business opportunity with impunity and have argued that lost profits are not available as a remedy. That position confirms that conduct like this should be deterred and the court should consider punitive damages after hearing all the evidence at trial,” Roberts said in the motion.

A hearing on the motion is set for Oct. 3 in 1st District Court.

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

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