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Kalispel Tribe crafts deal for country club

Northern Quest owners agree to pay more than $3 million

The Kalispel Tribe is poised to buy the Spokane Country Club for more than $3 million, according to a last-minute deal reached Thursday.

At least two bidders were prepared to compete for the venerable club’s course and other holdings during a scheduled bankruptcy auction.

But an agreement between the club, the Kalispel Tribe, and a group of four women members who successfully sued their club for gender discrimination all but made the $3 million offer for the club’s 18-hole course, buildings and other amenities along the south bank of the Little Spokane River a done deal.

A latecomer to the bidding process, a trio of real estate developers who run a Western Washington company called Pacific Ridge Homes, had put in a $3.1 million bid.

The businessmen making that offer are led by Michael T. Kinney, and also include Mark Hagenbaugh and Michael B. Kinney. Their offer was not addressed during the Thursday court hearing.

Barry Davidson, the attorney for the club, said the tribe’s offer as part of the deal included more than just the $3 million for assets. It included extra money for closing costs, the absorption of some future liabilities, and a provision to end the yearslong legal battle with the four women who won their discrimination complaint. The club owed $1.9 million to the women and their attorney, Mary Schultz, according to court documents.

Perhaps most importantly for the club members, the tribe has pledged to keep the course in top shape; honor the 117-year history of the club; and bestow preferential status upon the more than 275 individual and corporate members.

“The Kalispel Tribe is a good community citizen, and it was clear that the membership would continue to be able to call the course home,” Davidson said.

The tribe has said it will work with members of the country club but intends to fold the course into its expanding Northern Quest Resort & Casino entertainment offerings.

Kinney had not yet disclosed what his plans for the club would have been: whether he would have attempted to preserve the private status of the country club or whether he would have opened it to the public.

The club initially had hoped to sell the course to a group led by professional golfer Phil Mickelson. That offer was contingent upon the current membership paying thousands more in fees and monthly dues.

The Mickelson group withdrew its bid earlier this month, leaving the tribe in the dominant buyer position.

The country club filed for bankruptcy in 2013 to stave off the legal judgments.

Tribal attorney Lorraine Parlange said this week that the Kalispel Tribe has the interest and ability to be good stewards of the course and looked forward to the bidding process.

Another hearing to approve the agreement and sale is scheduled for later this month.