Vandalism charges have been dropped against a Bonner County man accused of slashing dozens of chair lift seat covers at Schweitzer Mountain Resort, according to the Bonner County Daily Bee
Magistrate Court Judge Justin Julian dismissed the charges against David Markwardt because, in a preliminary hearing, the state couldn't prove that the damages met or exceeded the $1,000-threshold that elevates a misdemeanor offense to the felony level.
The state can revive the case at a later time and Markwardt is still responsible in a civil lawsuit filed by the resort in an attempt to recover the damages and keep Markwardt away from the slopes.
The seat cover vandalism has vexed the resort since the 2011 winter season when more than 60 seats were slashed on five lifts, causing $8,000 in damage. Schweitzer ski patrollers have been on the lookout for new acts of vandalism since then.
They targeted in on Markwardt by examining lift ticket sales, scans of the ticket in lift lines and video footage from surveillance cameras. But Markwardt’s defense counsel emphasized during the hearing that nobody witnessed his client perpetrating vandalism.
Markwardt, 62, made his first court appearance in May. A retired physician who, according to the Daily Bee,
"describes himself as a disabled Vietnam veteran," Markwardt owns two condominiums at the resort and has claimed that Schweitzer officials have a vendetta against him because of complaints he filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act.