KENNEWICK — Gary Long Jr. will accept Kennewick's $2.46 million offer to settle the Columbia Park Golf Course lawsuit the city lost two years ago.
City Manager Marie Mosley said the city will make payment in full Friday once Long signs a settlement agreement.
The payment, which is $1.3 million less than the total amount owed, will come from general fund reserve balances and uncommitted capital funds and will not result in a tax increase, Mosley said in a statement late Monday.
Long announced at midday that the city's first and only offer to come from negotiations was enough to resolve the $3 million judgment resulting from a 2009 jury trial in Benton County Superior Court in his breach of contract suit.
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Almost $650,000 in interest had accrued at nearly $1,000 a day.
"This was the first offer the city has ever officially given me other than the $1 offered during trial," said Long in a statement released by his attorney, Nicholas Kovarik, in Spokane.
Long sued after being prevented from developing an RV park on the golf course property in Columbia Park. He claimed the Kennewick City Council reneged and began negotiating with another person about an RV park to be built in a different part of the park.
"This case was never really about the money. It was about the city treating me fairly and being accountable for killing the RV resort project at the golf course," Long said.
His acceptance of the city's offer came six days after the council unanimously voted to counter his last offer of $2.6 million.
"We feel that this compromise demonstrates, for the first time, that the city recognizes the damage it caused me, my family and my company," Long's statement said.
"We are hopeful that this experience will make the city more eager to take responsibility for its wrongdoing in the future," he added.
Mosley said the settlement represents a compromise "both by the city and Columbia Park Golf Course to achieve a middle ground."
She said the city and Long faced risks if the case went to the state Supreme Court for review.
Calling the settlement a "difficult decision for the city council," Mosley said the city negotiated in good faith with the best interests of the citizens in mind.
"The only reason I ever became involved with the city was to build something spectacular for the Tri-Cities. When the city killed my project, all I wanted was an apology and for them to find a solution," Long said.
He suggested the council consider using "the over $1.3 million discount we have given them" to build a new fire and emergency response facility.
Long's statement noted that four years of legal wrangling revealed the "true nature of our elected representatives," and citizens can keep that in mind in the next election.
Only three of the seven current council members were on the council when the decisions were made in 2006 on Long's RV park project.
Mayor Steve Young, Sharon Brown, the mayor pro tem, and Councilmen John Hubbard and Don Britain joined the council later.
They replaced Tom Moak, Jim Beaver, James Hempstead and Marg Price, who then were on the council with Bob Olson, Bob Parks and Paul Parish.
Bob Hammond, then city manager, and John Ziobro, then city attorney, also have left the city.
-- John Trumbo: 509-582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org