Les Kuty’s push for a concert series in his Cocolalla hayfield helped land him in jail Thursday.
Kuty, who is at odds with Bonner County officials over permits for the concerts, was arrested for trespassing and battery. Authorities said Kuty ran his car into resident Robert Bailey, who has questioned Kuty’s credentials as a concert promoter.
Bailey was not injured, and Kuty spent a few hours in jail before being released on $450 bond.
It’s another twist in Kuty’s controversial plan for concerts at his 100-acre ranch in Cocolalla. So far the proposed concerts have been plagued with problems.
The county has asked a judge to stop the shows because Kuty doesn’t have the proper permits. Performers Kuty advertised - including Ricky Skaggs and Sam “the Soul Man” Moore - have canceled, saying Kuty never paid them. Kuty has already sold tickets to some of the shows but he has said he will offer refunds.
Kuty has also touted a possible appearance by Willie Nelson.
In the meantime, county officials are checking into possible fraud charges because of Kuty’s advertisements.
The latest incident happened at The Mill, an animal feed store in Sandpoint. Kuty has a long-running dispute with The Mill owners and has been told to stay away from them, said Police Chief Bill Kice.
Kuty reportedly was trespassing on the property while trying to pass out more than 100 subpoenas throughout the county. He was serving the court papers all over town Thursday, giving them to judges, county commissioners, secretaries at the courthouse and the media.
Kuty supposedly wants to call dozens of witnesses when he goes to court next week to defend himself against the county. He even subpoenaed the judge who is supposed to hear the case.
When Kuty arrived at The Mill to deliver his mostly hand-written documents, the owners called police. Kuty tried to leave, but Bailey was in front of the car. Kuty ran into Bailey and knocked him down, Kice said. Kuty has blamed Bailey and a letter he wrote to local newspapers for his problems. In the letter, Bailey was skeptical Kuty actually had booked the big name performers he advertised and told ticket buyers to beware.
The county wants Kuty to get a special use permit and submit plans to handle traffic, sanitation and fire protection for his shows.
Kuty insists he doesn’t need one because he only expects 400 people at his ranch. According to county law, if there are 400 or fewer patrons no permit is needed.
Kuty claims the county is conspiring against him and that performers are canceling because of threats on their lives and the red tape.
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