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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Fight over Coeur d’Alene mansion fixtures ends in settlement

This mural is painted in one of the bathrooms of the home on the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

The former owner of a lavish Lake Coeur d’Alene mansion has agreed to return several large items he had removed from the home prior to losing it in bankruptcy.

A settlement in Idaho Bankruptcy Court this week means former owner Denny Ryerson, 70, will return the large dock and three power generators that were removed from the house before it was acquired by the current owner, Dana Martin.

When Martin moved into the 11,000-square-foot home in June, he said Ryerson had stripped the home of many hundreds of items.

He filed a claim in court arguing that Ryerson owed him $550,000 for replacing those items. Ryerson fought back in court, arguing the taken items were not fixtures and were his property.

Ryerson, an Arizona developer and Gonzaga University regent, had contested with Martin for nearly a year over who would end up owning the sprawling lake home, which included a caretaker’s house and seven bathrooms.

Ryerson bought the land and built the home before the economy collapsed in 2009. The business downturn left him with $14 million of debt including $8.8 million in bank loans on the house.

Martin last year purchased Ryerson’s loans from Idaho Independent Bank and later took over the Mica Bay property by submitting the highest bid in a short sale. He paid about $7.1 million.

Before Martin moved into the home in June, crews hired by Ryerson went through the home and removed hundreds of items. Beyond the big items such as generators, also taken were numerous chandeliers, stereo and security systems, wall sconces, appliances and window coverings.

The two sides then began battling over which of the items were fixtures and which were not.

Earlier this fall Idaho Bankruptcy Court Judge Terry Myers ruled that some items — including a high-end La Cornue French stove, wall fixtures and hundreds of wall lights — belonged to the house and should be returned by Ryerson.

The ruling allowed Ryerson to claim the dock and generators as his own property, and set the stage for this week’s settlement.

Martin said he was generally “satisfied” with the outcome and believed it was time to end the legal wrangling with Ryerson.

“Generally, this was the right thing to do. I didn’t think spending any more money on legal costs was the way to go,” he said.