by Inlander Staff & r & GOOD NEWS & r & It was a sublime weekend for local creditors. First, the Spokane diocese got their assets handed to them in federal bankruptcy court Friday. A judge ruled that the diocese indeed owns its schools and properties, so those assets are fair game in the case pitting it against alleged sex abuse victims. Then, late Monday, it came out that Met Mortgage sold its Hawaiian properties for $16.7 million to an heir to the Campbell's Soup Fortune, leaving the company's many creditors licking their lips for pineapple chicken soup.
Speaking of real estate, former Aryan Nation guru Richard Butler's old North Idaho digs went on the auction block Wednesday. As of press time, the buyer was still unknown. Whoever the lucky winner is, though, is going to have to consider not only the price of the house itself, but also the landscaping costs involved in getting all those tall weeds and charred crosses out of the yard.
BAD NEWS & r & Despite a decent pool of petty cash, it seems Spokane County could face a $3 million budget deficit next year. Maybe more. The chief culprit: payroll. Like the city, the county cites ballooning employee health care and pension costs. But could it be the ballooning number of Harrises on the county payroll? Related news: GN/BN learned this week that Phil Harris doesn't use e-mail. Ever. And it's not just that nobody's taught him how. County attorney Jim Emacio says Harris doesn't like to leave a trail. Maybe Jim West should've taken a page out of that book.
In more related news (what a tangled week it was), Sheriff Mark Sterk is stepping down in March to spend more time winning souls for Jesus (at a camp in Deer Park) and fuming at the Spokesman (for alleged misreporting in the West story). Perhaps to vent his anger, he wants to build his department a $750,000 shooting range. Put in perspective, that amount represents 25 percent of that $3 million budget deficit. Whaddya say to that, taxpayers?