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Opinion: A tight spot

by CHRIS PETERSON
Editor | September 20, 2023 2:00 AM

One of my favorite films of all time is “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” starring George Clooney.

There’s a scene where the police have Clooney’s character holed up in a barn and they start shooting at them and start the barn on fire.

“We’re in a tight spot!” Clooney exclaims.

I suspect my good friend from Florida, Rishi Kapoor, knows how Clooney feels.

You remember Rishi, he was the fine fellow from Coral Gables, Florida who came up here on vacation and found Columbia Falls to his liking.

“We just want to have fun and do good work,” Kapoor told the Columbia Falls city council on March 20 as he pitched a big ol’ subdivision east of the Flathead River.

The subdivision came after Kapoor and his cronies repeatedly claimed they were “collaborating” with local conservation groups and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on an apartment complex that left no room for migrating wildlife or even the lowly frogs, for that matter.

Kapoor called them “listening campaigns” and even foisted a website and video on the community called Flathead for Sensible Growth, which is now defunct.

Kapoor claimed to love hiking in Montana.

“I’m sure I’ll spend the rest of my life exploring and catching up to many of you,” he read from his script to council on that evening.

“Dozens of trips later we’ve fallen in love with this community,” he crooned.

Fast forward just six months and it seems our good friend, our dear friend, is in the same predicament as Mr. Clooney.

Which is to say, “A tight spot.”

According to the Miami Herald, the latest report is that Kapoor now faces a new lawsuit (this is on top of several already in the works down in F-L-A.).

In this latest suit, Kapoor allegedly offered a condo purchase contract in Florida to Juan Gronlier, the owner of a tile company, with a bundle of incentives spelled out in a “side letter agreement.” They allowed Gronlier to back out of his condo purchase at any time, freely assign his contract to anyone else, or have Kapoor sell the unit to another person and turn over any profit to Gronlier, according to the lawsuit. Under any circumstances, Gronlier says, he was supposed to get back his $792,000 deposit on the condo purchase along with ongoing interest that Kapoor promised. Or, as an alternative, Gronlier says, he was supposed to receive 7.92% equity in the condo project.

Instead, the story goes on to note, Kapoor sold Gronlier’s condo to another bloke for $1.95 million.

Kapoor also faces additional suits according to the Herald story, including a $25 million lawsuit from investors in Kapoor’s firm, Location Ventures, which as of this writing, may or may not even exist.

(We called them a few weeks ago, left a message and it was never returned, though the phone still works, which, I suppose, is a plus.)

“We’ve grown as a professional organization that we’re very proud of,” Kapoor told council March 20.

“We’re not coming here to be one and done,” he claimed.

Later adding…

“…We’re coming here to be helpful to be thoughtful about what real estate solutions are…” he blathered. “… “I hope you see that commitment and the listening we’ve done.”

Looking back at that speech (which is archived on our newspaper’s YouTube channel under Columbia Falls City Council March 20. It’s about 50 minutes in) it’s so bad and insincere, it’s almost laughable.

In “O Brother Where Art Thou” a kid with a truck blasts through the doors of the burning barn and saves Clooney.

“I done r-u-n-n-o-f-t!” the kid exclaims.

I can only imagine what would have happened in Columbia Falls if the community had the poor sense to embrace Kapoor and cronies and the graft that likely would have followed.

Kapoor is in a tight spot, for sure. But I don’t see a way out for him, do you?