SEATTLE - The American Lung Association has settled an eight-month legal dispute with its Seattle-based Northwest chapter and is getting back the $3.2 million regional headquarters the chapter had given to a newly created charity.
Under terms announced Thursday, the entire board of directors at the Northwest chapter will be replaced, and the new charity - which had been established by the chapter's since-fired chief executive - will return the building deed and $500,000 to the American Lung Association.
The American Lung Association accused the Northwest chapter of looting its assets. A King County Superior Court judge determined that the Lung Association was likely to win its claim that the chapter breached its contract, and ordered the sides into mediation.
The Northwest chapter was founded in 1906 and has been charged with carrying out the charity's mission in Alaska, Idaho and Washington, including teen anti-smoking efforts, support of indoor smoking bans and fundraising bike rides and mountain climbs.
The dispute began in late summer, after the Northwest chapter's then-new chief executive, Mike Alderson, joined two other people, including the former chief executive of Harborview Medical Center, in creating a charitable organization called the Pacific Northwest Lung Cancer Foundation. Alderson persuaded the Northwest chapter's board to give his new foundation its one-story, brick headquarters building - assessed at $3.2 million - for just $10.
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