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Silver Mountain Landlord Offers To Settle Lawsuit

The landlord of Silver Mountain Ski Resort in Kellogg has offered to settle a sticky lawsuit that involves the city and the new operators of the ski hill.

Mission Mountain Interest Ltd. owns much of the land under Silver Mountain. The land is leased to the city of Kellogg under a previous agreement with the Bunker Hill Limited Partnership.

The agreement, according to city officials, gives Kellogg the right to lease the land to a ski operator or another party without consulting the land owner, now Mission Mountain.

Eagle Crest Partners of Redmond, Ore., agreed to lease the assets of Silver Mountain last May. Mission Mountain contends it was never consulted on the deal, and all three parties ended up in court.

John Beasley, secretary for Mission Mountain, said Thursday that his firm sent a settlement offer to the city of Kellogg. Beasley said his partners want the city not to be liable in the suit.

Mission Mountain would still be in court seeking a judgment against Eagle Crest, which, according to the suit, Mission Mountain believes has been operating the ski resort under an invalid agreement.

Beasley refused to disclose terms of the settlement offer, as did Kellogg City Attorney Charlie Cox.

Cox said the city has sent Mission Mountain’s counsel in Missoula a memo outlining what a settlement should cover.

At stake is the future of the ski resort. Eagle Crest has an option next year to begin removing equipment from the mountain, though the resort development company has steadfastly denied that it has any intention of removing anything.

Mission Mountain wants to keep the centerpiece gondola in Kellogg, Beasley said, and will use any means it can through court to do so.

The Mission Mountain suit argues that the lease agreement signed between Kellogg and Eagle Crest isn’t valid for several reasons.

Under terms of the old agreement signed with previous Silver Mountain backer Von Roll AG, a Swiss lift manufacturer, the lease would end when Von Roll retired the bonds it sold to back the ski resort. Mission Mountain argues that when the transaction took place, Von Roll retired the bonds and the lease ended instead of being transferred to Eagle Crest.

Cox has maintained that the agreement was legal and will withstand legal scrutiny.

Mission Mountain has brought up the idea of charging rent to Eagle Crest Partners if the lease deal becomes void.

, DataTimes