Idaho Club May Be At Turning Point

September 08, 2016
By Keith Kinnard

A more colorful chapter could be opening up in the saga of the embattled Idaho Club.

The Jack Nicklaus-signature golf course and its remaining housing parcels are set to go on the block during a Bonner County sheriff’s auction on Monday, which may seem a pretty gloomy and windswept turn of events.

However, Valiant Idaho, which won a $21 million judgment against the original owners in a tangled knot of protracted litigation in 1st District Court, is hoping the sale will mark a welcome turning point.

“They want this development to flourish,” said Boise attorney Rick Stacey, counsel for Idaho Valiant.

The golfing and housing development fell on hard times around 2008 amid the housing market collapse and the attendant cratering of the national economy. The course also lost its centerpiece clubhouse to an electrical fire.

Insurance proceeds from the fire did not go back to Pend Oreille Bonner Development, the Idaho Club’s developer. They went to various parties that had liens or security interest in the project, according to court records that fill four banker boxes in the basement of the Bonner County Courthouse.

The course and two dozen undeveloped parcels went to tax auction in 2014, although Valiant stepped in and paid $1.7 million in unpaid taxes. Valiant does not expect any new bidders to emerge during the sheriff’s auction.

“It’s extremely unlikely that anyone’s going to show up and bid more than $21 million for the purchase,” said Stacey.

As a result, Valiant expects to make a credit bid at the auction based on the judgment that it is owed in order to acquire the development.

The club has managed to keep the course open to play over the years. While the fairways and greens appear to be in good condition, there are small glimpses of the Idaho Club’s initial unraveling on other parts of the course — inconsistent or absent yardage markers, Porta Potties in lieu of flush toilets and a lack of other minor amenities duffers might expect to encounter at a top-shelf course.

Golfers still pass by the stone ruins of the clubhouse upon leaving the 18th green.

If Valiant proves to be the successful bidder, however, Stacey hopes the club will end a lengthy period of stagnation.

“Now, hopefully, things will move forward,” he said.

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On the golf course, on the mountain or in a forest setting looking out over the wetlands, The Idaho Club embraces wide-open spaces in one of the most pristine locations in the Northwest—all within easy access to family-friendly activities, fine dining and shopping in the thriving arts community of Sandpoint.