No charges against ex-LCDC chairman

FRIDAY, FEB. 27, 2009

State attorney says Nipp didn’t intend to defraud, deceive

The Idaho attorney general’s office has decided no criminal charges are warranted against a former chairman of the Lake City Development Corp. regarding allegations of conflicts of interest.

Charles Nipp, a longtime Coeur d’Alene developer, was chairman of the LCDC board while also serving on the board of Mountain West Bank, the attorney general said in a news release. Of 13 properties acquired by the LCDC from 2003 to 2006, loans for six of them were acquired by Mountain West, the release said. The largest of those loans was for $242,000.

Bill Douglas, the county’s previous prosecuting attorney, requested in March 2008 that the attorney general investigate.

The investigation revealed that Nipp voted on each of the loans and did not disclose his interest in Mountain West. However, his compensation from the bank did not vary depending on loans the bank made, he was not involved with the approval process for any loan valued less than $1.5 million, and did not benefit financially from the loans, the release said.

“Our investigation revealed that Mr. Nipp’s conduct, while constituting a technical violation of the statutes, does not rise to the level of a prosecutable crime,” Deputy Attorney General Stephen Bywater wrote in a letter to Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh. “It appeared clear to us that his failure to disclose his potential conflict of interest was not done with the intent to defraud or deceive LCDC, but rather was the result of his belief that he did not have a conflict.”

LCDC Chairman Denny Davis said he is glad this investigation has been put to rest. “I’m not surprised at the result,” he said.

Click here to comment on this story »