Bend couple sued for $9M over land deal

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: January 04. 2007 5:00AM PST

A Portland-area development company has filed a lawsuit in Deschutes County Circuit Court against a Bend couple for breach of contract and defamation, seeking at least $9 million in damages.

In the suit, Quantum Development LLC claims George and Mina Cook unfairly backed out of an agreement for Quantum to buy the 77 acres of land the couple owns northeast of Bend.

The Cooks and Quantum signed a contract Feb. 24 for the company to pay $3 million for the Cooks’ property. The Cooks have already secured a waiver under Measure 37 from Deschutes County and the state of Oregon to allow development on the land. The suit was also filed on behalf of Gary Henin, a developer who had agreed to pay Quantum $3.5 million to build on the land, and Quantum Manager Justin Kelly, according to court documents.

“It’s a pretty simple matter, I think there’s a pretty clear contract between Quantum and the Cooks, and maybe the Cooks don’t quite understand their contract and need a judge to tell them what they need to do,” said Karl Mullen, the Portland-based attorney representing Quantum.

Mullen said the Cooks sent a letter to Quantum and Henin about a month ago saying they were rescinding the contract. He added that they had earlier asked for about $57,000 in additional expenses.

The suit also charges the Cooks with “defaming Quantum to persons, government officials, and businesses Quantum was and/or is working with in connection with the Cook property, including falsely stating that QD and Kelly are crooks, stealing money and not going to complete the development.”

Reached at home, George Cook referred all questions to his lawyer. The lawyer, Brian Gingerich, said he did not want to discuss the case extensively.”

Regardless of what the other party wants to say, we’re not going to litigate through the media,” Gingerich said. “We’re going to defend the case and do our very best, and we believe it’s defensible and the claims aren’t valid.”

The lawyer for Henin, James Gidley, said he did not want to comment beyond saying that he hopes the suit will be settled before trial. Mullen said no hearing date has yet been set.

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