KENNEWICK — City of Kennewick officials want the state Court of Appeals to reconsider its ruling last month on the Columbia Park Golf Course.
City Attorney Lisa Beaton said the motion for reconsideration was submitted this week in hopes of overturning or reducing a $3 million judgment by a jury after a Benton County Superior Court trial in 2009.
The request for reconsideration comes three weeks after a three-judge panel in Spokane ruled 2-1 to uphold the judgment in the breach of contract case.
The city had 30 days to ask the state Supreme Court to review the case, but chose instead to ask the Court of Appeals to review its decision.
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Gary Long Jr., operator of the golf course which he managed on land controlled by the city through a lease with the Army Corps of Engineers, claimed the city reneged on an agreement allowing him to do major improvements.
He wanted to replace the driving range with a 67-space RV park, replace the clubhouse and build a new parking lot and boat launch.
Long claims the city went back on his contract and opened negotiations with another developer who also had an RV park proposal.
The jury awarded the judgment following a trial that had several city council members testifying.
In addition to the jury award, interest has been accruing at almost $1,000 a day. The total amount now is almost $3.7 million.
The city does not have insurance to cover a breach of contract loss, but it has insurance to pay for defending the lawsuit.
Nicholas Kovarik, Long's attorney, said the request for reconsideration was not unexpected, especially when government agencies are the defendants.
"I look at this as a positive thing, it could be an open door for settlement. If (the city) was resolute, they would have filed the petition (to the Supreme Court)," Kovarik said.
The golf course, which had been closed since November, reopened earlier this week under new management by CourseCo Inc. of Petaluma, Calif., which also has a contract to manage Richland's Columbia Point Golf Course.