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Lolo Community Club didn’t consent to COVID lawsuit against Missoula Health Dept.

Members of the Missoula City-County Health Department and others associated with Missoula County’s pandemic response update elected officials early last year. (Missoula Current file photo)

Sparks are likely to fly during Tuesday’s open meeting of the Lolo Community Club board after board members learned they were included in a lawsuit without their consent.

The Lolo Community Club, which runs the Lolo Community Center, is listed as one of the parties involved in a lawsuit that claims the Missoula City-County Board of Health violated their rights by adopting rules intended to limit the spread of COVID-19.

But aside from Warren Kingdon and his wife Donya, the board had no inkling of their involvement until news broke about the lawsuit on Thursday.

Kingdon, the board chair, apparently took matters into his own hands, adding the Lolo Community Club to the lawsuit at the same time he added his business, Kingdon Enterprises LLC, which runs Wild Bean Coffee in Lolo.

The other three board members weren’t pleased to learn they hadn’t been consulted.

On the Facebook page “Missoula COVID-19 Organizing Action,” Lolo resident Jean Belangie-Nye said what Kingdon did would cost the community club some money. So it should have been discussed at the December board meeting and would have needed a majority vote to pass. But Kingdon didn’t bring up the issue.

Board member Steph Walther told the Missoula Current that Tuesday’s board meeting would be different.

“This involvement with this horrible suit will not continue. At the open meeting on Tuesday evening, January 26, I will demand the club’s withdrawal,” Walther said in an email. “I’m asking for community support.” 

Walther said Kingdon and his wife might also be asked to resign.

Belangie-Nye said she couldn’t attend the open meeting due to a prior engagement, but was sending a “strongly-worded letter” that should be read aloud at the meeting.

The Lolo Community Club has always requested that members wear masks and follow social distancing recommendations during community center events. So Walther asked that those attending Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting respect the club’s rules.

“Masks are mandatory (always) and it will be in the main hall, so there will be social distancing. CHIN DIAPERS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!” she wrote on Facebook.

Contact reporter Laura Lundquist at lundquist@missoulacurrent.com.

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