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Spokane County loss on land deal finalized

Spokane County’s loss of more than $1 million in a land deal with the Spokane International Airport was completed Monday by the Spokane City Council.

In 2008, the county paid $3.2 million for nearly 400 acres between the airport and Fairchild Air Force Base to relocate a rail line that crossed the base and protect the base from encroaching development. County commissioners agreed to sell the land to the airport late last month for $1.75 million.

The Spokane City Council, which along with the Spokane County Commission must approve major airport financial decisions, unanimously approved the deal on Monday. The airport’s ownership is shared by the city and county.

Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart said he believes that the airport is paying a fair price for the land.

“In my mind it is very responsible for the airport to be buying that land, regardless of the history of it,” Stuckart said. “The best steward for it is the Spokane International Airport.”

Part of the county’s 2008 land purchase became controversial because it included 150 acres of rock mining land sold by John Condon Jr., an older brother of current Spokane Mayor David Condon, for $600,000. John Condon’s company, Northwest Industrial Services, bought the land in 2001 for $65,000. Critics said the county was paying too much and noted that John Condon Jr. was a political contributor to Republican county commissioners Todd Mielke and Mark Richard. Supporters of the deal said the value had increased because Condon had acquired mining rights and noted that the deal also was supported by then-Commissioner Bonnie Mager, a Democrat who often challenged Mielke and Richard’s positions.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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