Who Cratered the Skykomish Hotel Sale?

Mayor Tony Grider

Mayor Alan A. (Tony) Grider

The Skykomish Hotel sale closing, set for March 14, 2014, cratered following repeated refusal by the Town to work with Buyers in providing necessary documentation.

The Skykomish Hotel had been sold for $350,000, plus Buyer’s assumption of approximately $100,000 in additional liabilities, bringing the total sale price to $450,000.

New owners were to commence immediate roof and soffit replacement and actively undertake a full restoration.

The Town’s refusal to supply escrow with documents resulted in delay of the March 14, 2014 closing. This set off alarm bells and Buyers became increasingly nervous, frustrated and suspicious of Town intentions. They sought solutions, but the Town’s letter of March 21st made it clear none would be forthcoming.

Mayor Grider’s statement ‘the Town must be made whole’ is most disingenuous, as the Town was the very party responsible for creating and nurturing the mess it now complained of.

Nevertheless, the Buyers purchase terms would have accomplished this ignoble goal.

Mayor Grider’s letter actually appears written by attorneys. No disrespect intended, but the Mayor’s writing ‘style’ isn’t generally as polished as this letter would suggest. The fact is, the mayor can barely put a sentence together, let alone a paragraph.

The letter did however reveal the Town’s true nature and intent: to put a stop to the sale. This was accomplished in late March, when Buyers backed out of the deal, despite knowing they would lose their earnest money deposit, which was forfeited to the Seller.

The Town had in its hands everything it supposedly wanted: a buyer who would purchase the Hotel, save it from the wrecking ball, install a new roof and perform a complete renovation.

Imagine, the Hotel would finally, after all these years, once again be generating tax revenues, employing local workers and providing an anchor for further economic growth and cultural renewal.

Sky would finally be free of the cruel, heartless, greedy, mouthy owner, who, with enough cash in hand, could go stir up trouble somewhere else.

So why did the Town choose to crater the sale? Is it possible mayor and council are not the white knights in shining armor, battling to save the historic Skykomish Hotel from plunder, as ‘Friends of Skykomish’ would have us believe?

Why did mayor and council refuse to even talk with the owner these past 14 years, despite numerous written invitations, instead setting law dogs upon him?

The Hotel alleges the Town and County’s plan all along has been to acquire it, without the necessity of having to pay for it.

While this plan appears to have been rotating from the moment the owners set foot in town, it doesn’t appear to have fully matured until Mayor Fred Black’s election, when the Town, BNSF Railway, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Washington State Department of Ecology and Puget Sound Energy ‘worked together’  to return the fully leased Hotel (following BNSF’s environmental remediation scam) without operational utilities, as was required.

This ‘dirty pool’ had already been played out on the McEvoy House, so the Hotel’s owner didn’t need to be a soothsayer to see this disaster coming. Despite his hard work, the Town’s commitment to this outcome sealed the Hotel’s fate.

Without operational utilities, owner and tenants could not occupy the Hotel. This was perfectly tailored to cut off the owner’s income, financially bringing him to his knees, where he would be better positioned to beg Mayor Fred Black to take the Hotel off his hands.

Once the Hotel had landed in Mayor Fred Black’s lap, it could be fully digested by Town and County officials and BNSF partners at their leisure.

Chris Moore from the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation and Todd Scott from King County Historic Commission ‘suggested’  the owner donate the Hotel, take a tax write off, and move on down the road. This didn’t sit well, as these guys were just seen as tentacles of the same many legged extortion monster 4Culture.org. Their efforts were rebuffed.

The Hotel had been in good condition, with the interior repaired and redecorated, as evidenced and documented by BNSF Railway’s own inspection team. Incoming tenants had agreed to install a new roof and provide additional improvements.

When Mayor Black’s plan to ‘acquire’ the Hotel didn’t go as envisioned, he went ballistic. It didn’t take long for attorneys over at the Carson Law Group to gin up a new plan of direct assault.

King County Deputy Sheriff/Sky Council member Mike Janasz did his part, threatening the Hotel’s agent and owner, making sure they couldn’t show their faces and more importantly, their video cameras at future Skykomish council meetings. Elected representatives like Janasz believe the wheels of governance are best lubricated when voters can’t see the goings on.

Mayor Fred Black’s plan was now back on track, that was until the Hotel’s Agent  revealed $2.3 million had gone missing over at Town Hall. The Mayor’s sudden resignation and abrupt departure for Kansas once again derailed town plans to ‘acquire’ the Hotel.

Since then, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge and plenty of money has been squandered by attorneys. Despite assurances to town leaders, it’s turned out to be a long, hard pull for the Carson Law Group to produce their promised magic.

Regardless of the outcome, Sky has already paid a steep price. The town’s most significant historic asset, the Skykomish Hotel, still has the ground beneath it polluted with BNSF diesel and bunker oils, and is now in a much deteriorated condition. Restoration would be a daunting task, involving serious money. Scaring away this latest group of Buyers may not have been such a good idea after all.

Potential investors can now see with clarity and certainty that the Town of Skykomish and King County will not hesitate to acquire properties they covet by whatever means necessary. The trail of bread crumbs from the McEvoy House to the Skykomish Hotel to the Sky River Inn to the Maloney General Store and now Rick Aydelotte’s property, provides an unmistakable path.

Trust that investor’s capital will be safe and faith in our community’s ability to responsibly govern itself have been severely shaken.

Mayor and Council have embroiled Skykomish in serious litigation on numerous fronts with several parties.

Not only has this proven expensive, it’s caused serious division within our town. On the good side, it’s important to note that the attorneys are doing very well.

Any chance Sky will be able to mount an effective economic and cultural comeback has been greatly diminished, despite the many bones King County’s 4Culture.org dogs continue to throw our way.

Trust, once lost, is difficult to rebuild. Faith, once lost is hard to rekindle.

The Skykomish Hotel’s present condition is merely a reflection of our spiritual impoverishment and systemic corruption. Look into the mirror; you won’t like what you see.

Sky has become a loathsome, dark, satanic enterprise, laid bare for all to see.

Our future is now be part of the devil’s brew.


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