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  • Writer's pictureErin B.

North Idaho College May Not Have Been Transparent About $1M Purchase

TL;DR – here’s the video I made about this last night after the meeting in case you don’t want to read today. 😊

There are multiple things happening in this county all at once to bear with me as all the info starts trickling out. I will be speaking on the “complaints” against Candlelight Christian Fellowship as a polling location in another mail so be on the lookout for that.

Right now the topic is North Idaho College and the continuing saga of the purchase of the Fort Ground Grill property.

If you recall, in July the three appointed board members approved the purchase of the Fort Ground Grill property from the owner, former Coeur d’Alene mayor Steve Widmyer, for one million dollars. At that time, the public was told that the price of the property was just for the property and building, North Idaho College was NOT purchasing the restaurant, restaurant equipment, or liquor license that went with the restaurant.

I followed up with Sarah Garcia, Interim VP of Finance and Business Affairs, who confirmed again that the sale of the property did not include the restaurant or the liquor license. My email to her, and her responses are below. I’ve highlighted her responses to make it stand out.

Last night, at the latest board meeting, we were given a bombshell by Ron Hartman, candidate for the NIC trustees, during public comment. Hartman said that he has received the appraiser’s documents for the Fort Ground Grill property and in the documents it says that the one million dollar price tag DOES include the price of the liquor license! What’s more, the appraiser’s report says that the property owner should be charging about $5800/month for rent on that building, however NIC is only charging Steve Widmyer $1200/month for rent.

To recap:

  • The public was told the liquor license was not included in the price of the property and that the appraisal did NOT include the cost of the liquor license.

  • Turns out the appraisal DID include the cost of the liquor license and North Idaho College bought the property at the inflated price.

  • The appraisal says NIC should be charging Steve Widmyer about $5800/month in rent to use that building.

  • North Idaho College is only charging Steve Widmyer $1200/month in rent.

  • And now because NIC owns the property they are paying the taxes on the 2022 assessed value which, as we have seen around the county, has skyrocketed compared to years past.

Something smells fishy and it’s not the lake.

I have asked Sarah Garcia some follow up questions this morning and will post the responses on my website when I have them.

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