Gary Long Jr. wants the Kennewick City Council to reconsider his offer for a $1 million discount on the judgment granted in the Columbia Park Golf Course lawsuit.
Long's attorney, Nicholas Kovarik of Spokane, told Kennewick City Manager Marie Mosley during an all-day mediation Tuesday that the Benton County jury judgment of $3 million in 2009, plus $649,292 in accrued interest, could be resolved for $1 million less.
But the council did not act on that offer following a closed session Tuesday night.
A disappointed Kovarik claimed Mosley had misled him about what the council would do, and he accused the city of trying to conceal its decision-making discussions.
"Had (we known the) offer was going to be 'back room' discussed, in private, in order to determine if the council could arrive at a 'consensus,' (we) would have simply presented the settlement offer at the regular meeting on April 5," Kovarik wrote Friday in an emailed letter to City Attorney Lisa Beaton.
"In an effort to avoid further closed-door secret discussions, (we) hereby present the enclosed proposal," for council consideration April 5, he added in the letter to Beaton.
Kovarik provided a copy of the letter to the Herald.
Long, who managed the golf course on land controlled by the city through a lease with the Army Corps of Engineers, claimed the city reneged on an agreement to allow him to do major improvements.
The city appealed the award, but the Court of Appeals in Spokane ruled 2-1 to uphold the judgment. The case is under reconsideration with the Court of Appeals at the city's request to overturn or reduce the judgment.
"This will not show up on the agenda April 5," Mosley said. "Things in executive session need to stay in executive session."
Beaton said the city will "take the high road," but she added that the council can do what it wants.
In a prepared statement Wednesday, Mosley said the city could not comment about the confidential mediations led by former Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge. She noted that the council held an executive session at Tuesday's workshop, as allowed by law, but did not vote on the settlement offer, which would not have been allowed by state law.
"The city council followed state law. ... The city will continue to abide by the Open Public Meetings Act and Uniform Mediation Act," Mosley said.
"The city's goal is, and always has been, to negotiate in the best interest of the citizens of the city of Kennewick," she added. "The city is shocked and disappointed that the plaintiffs have chosen to negotiate in the media."
Kovarik's letter to Beaton on Friday renewed the settlement offer, which he said would expire the day after the next council meeting.
John Trumbo: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org