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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Judge orders John Stockton and Priest Lake neighbors to pay $500,000 in attorney fees

UPDATED: Mon., April 15, 2019

Basketball star John Stockton and his neighbors have been ordered to pay about $500,000 in attorney’s fees following their botched attempt to stop a development on Priest Lake, according to an Idaho judge’s order Friday.

Along with his lake cabin neighbor, Todd Brinkmeyer, Stockton tried to stop a contracted sale and the construction of multiple lakefront properties on 65 acres of undeveloped wetlands on the south end of Priest Lake. Stockton, a Gonzaga University and Utah Jazz star, is a member of the Hall of Fame.

In February, Idaho District Judge Barbara Buchanan found that Stockton, Brinkmeyer and the original owners of the wetlands property, the Warren family, had engaged in a conspiracy to interfere with the sale. The judge then ordered them to sell the land at a loss to the developer, Tricore Investments.

The issue began in July 2015 when members of the Warren family decided to sell two parcels totaling 45 acres for $2 million and began negotiations with Tricore, which is owned by Clifford and Becky Mort.

The negotiations dragged on for more than a year. When Stockton heard about the plan to develop the land, he contacted Brinkmeyer, his Priest Lake neighbor and founder and president of Plummer Forest Products, and the two formulated a plan to purchase the property together to stop the development.

Despite the ongoing negotiations with Tricore, the Warren family sold the land to Stockton and Brinkmeyer three days before the deal with Tricore was to close.

Tricore found out about the sale near the end of September 2016, when it contacted a title company and was given a copy of the new deed. Mort’s company filed a lawsuit against the Warren family, Stockton and Brinkmeyer on Oct. 6, 2016.

Two years later, after a six-day trial that ended on Nov. 2, a judge determined that the Warrens, Brinkmeyer and Stockton in the wrong, saying they had engaged in a “conspiracy” to “accomplish an unlawful objective.”

Following the verdict, the judge ordered Stockton and Brinkmeyer to sell the land to Tricore for $2.4 million.

On Friday, Buchanan ordered the men, as well as members of the Warren family, to pay $494,000 in attorney’s fees and costs.

Editor’s note: This story was changed to reflect that the trial verdict was made by a judge. There was no jury.

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