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Candidate sues another over contract

Spokane County assessor candidate Sadie Charlene Cooney is suing prosecutor candidate Frank Malone for alleged failure to pay an $81,077 debt.

The dispute springs from a contract in which Malone purchased the law firm of Cooney’s late husband, Joseph M. Cooney.

The agreement was signed in November 1996, two weeks before Cooney died at age 73. Malone and Cooney had been longtime law partners.

“It was my understanding the contract was ended,” Malone said Thursday.

He declined to elaborate.

Sadie Cooney referred a request for comment to her attorney, Herb Landis, who was not immediately available.

“I’m not going to litigate something in the newspapers,” Malone said. “That’s for dummies.”

As prosecutor, he said, “I probably would not discuss litigation outside the court setting.”

According to the lawsuit Cooney filed Monday in Spokane County Superior Court, a collection agency notified Malone last August that he was in default on a November 1996 contract in which he agreed to pay $120,000 in monthly installments over five years.

Malone also agreed to pay 10 percent of the firm’s earnings in a pending case, to take over the company’s $100,000 debt and to be responsible for a $1,000-a-month lease on “nonproductive” office space at the Garland Theatre that wouldn’t expire until February 2005.

The lawsuit says Malone told the collection agency, “I dispute this debt.”