Suit filed over lodge ownership

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CLARK FORK — A Bonner County man is suing to dissolve former Hope resident Junior Hillbroom’s ownership interest in the Clark Fork Lodge.

Counsel for Kelly Kearns argues Hillbroom, who’s serving house arrest for drug trafficking charges in Micronesia, no longer has an ownership interest in the lodge after his sister accepted $10,000 in exchange for a quitclaim deed transferring his interest to Kearns, according to a lawsuit filed in 1st District Court on Jan. 2.

Kearns and Hillbroom, the son of the late DHL shipping magnate Larry Hillblom, entered into limited-liability partnership in 2014. Hillbroom paid $40,000 as a down payment for the lodge, restaurant and hardware store.

Hillbroom was to own the restaurant and hardware store without any encumbrances, while the title to the lodge would be held in the partnership’s name. The partnership would dissolve with Kearns owning the lodge with a $400,000 encumbrance attached according to court documents. The property would be appraised and the difference between the appraised value and the original purchase price would be considered a profit of which Hillbroom would receive 20 percent.

Kearns and Hillbroom signed a $360,000 promissory note to acquire the property in 2014 and the lodge was appraised at $475,000 in 2017, court records indicate. Kearns entered into a settlement agreement with Hillbroom’s sister, who was paid $10,000 for the quitclaim deed, the lawsuit said.

Hillbroom was charged with trafficking meth and escaping from jail in Palau in 2016 and was given a 60-day term, according to a news report published by the Saipan Times. He was arrested again for meth trafficking in Palau the following year and received 10 years of supervised probation, the Times reported.

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

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