SANDPOINT — A man accused in a lawsuit of slashing dozens of chair lift seat cushions at a northern Idaho ski resort is denying the allegations and claims instead he’s the target of a vendetta by resort executives.
Lawyers for Schweitzer Mountain Resort filed a lawsuit in April accusing David Markwardt, 62, of intentionally damaging more than 60 cushions on five of the resort’s lifts during the last two ski seasons. The resort says it cost $9,000 to replace the seat covers.
In court documents filed recently, Markwardt denies riding the lifts on the dates resort lawyers say the damage occurred.
The Bonner County Daily Bee also reports Markwardt filed a counterclaim, accusing resort officials of retribution after he filed complaints against the resort for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“This case against me is based on the fact that (Schweitzer President and CEO Tom) Chasse has had a vendetta against me ever since I engaged in my civic duty to help the disabled and by being a good citizen by reporting law breaking cowards,” wrote Markwardt, who described himself in court papers as a Vietnam veteran with service-related injuries.
Chasse told the newspaper, however, there is no vendetta and that his own interactions with Markwardt have been cordial.
The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development investigated Markwardt’s ADA allegations and found that the resort was in compliance, although it was required to widen a handicap space to accommodate vans with wheelchair lifts.
“The ruling was favorable to Schweitzer,” Chasse said.
In its lawsuit, the resort is asking a judge to permanently bar Markwardt from Schweitzer properties and pay with damages for the slashed seats and attorney’s fees.
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