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A high-powered Sacramento lobbyist and developer is pursuing plans to buy Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa in Lake County and to redevelop the property, possibly to include an Indian casino.

Darius Anderson, a fund-raising expert and finance chairman for former Gov. Gray Davis, said Wednesday he is finalizing the agreement to buy the lakeside resort owned by a San Francisco-based plumbers union.

He said his company, Kenwood Investments, is exploring a variety of options for the destination resort. They include remodeling and expanding the hotel, building time-share condominiums, increasing seating capacity and installing luxury boxes at the outdoor concert venue and adding a casino. He said building a nine-hole golf course is another option.

Union officials did not return calls placed over the past week to confirm the pending deal.

The hotel and resort periodically has been rumored to be for sale.

The sale is seen as one way to resolve a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Labor Department, which alleges the union mishandled members' benefit plans by improperly funneling millions of dollars into the resort and concert venue.

Anderson, who also lives in Kenwood, declined to disclose the purchase price.

"We're finalizing a purchase and sales agreement. Hopefully, it will be signed by the end of the week," he said.

Konocti resort for decades has served as a family get-a-way offering boating, swimming, tennis and fishing.

Set on a cove on the south side of Clear Lake, the 100-acre resort in more recent years has become a venue for concertgoers from up and down the North Coast, with a 5,000-seat outdoor amphitheater and 1,000-seat indoor concert hall that attract major acts. Lodging includes 250 rooms, suites and cottages.

"It provides a very viable opportunity for affordable hospitality, time share and entertainment for the San Francisco Bay Area," Anderson said. "We think there is a lot to improve upon. We have done extensive research to see how we can maximize the value there."

Anderson's company is involved in a number of projects, including managing redevelopment of Treasure Island. In May, his company bought the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco for $10 million.

He also is known for the fund-raising skills he has brought to Democratic politicians, including Davis, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

Anderson's lobbying firm, Platinum Advisors, serves as a consultant for Station Casinos of Las Vegas, which along with the Graton Rancheria is planning a large casino in Rohnert Park.

Anderson said a casino at Konocti would be smaller, with about 400 slot machines and would not involve financial backing from Las Vegas interests. Although Anderson has talked with at least two Lake County tribes about the prospect of running it, he also acknowledged it is a longshot to get state and federal approval.

"Gaming is not essential," he said. "If it doesn't happen and we don't have a deal with tribes, we are still going forward. It's one of the spokes, cogs in the wheel."

Lake County officials said they have qualms about the traffic and other potential problems that a 24-hour gaming operation could create.

"I predict there will be very serious concern from neighboring property owners," County Administrator Kelly Cox said. "It's not a given it would be welcomed by the community."

Sources familiar with the deal said Anderson's purchase and infusion of money could give the resort some fresh sizzle and help resolve legal issues.

Local 38 of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Journeymen has owned the resort since 1959 but has twice been sued by the U.S. Labor Department over the amount of money it has put into the resort.

A pending lawsuit, filed in 2004, charges that the union improperly diverted more than $36 million from members' benefit plans into the resort and spa, placing the assets at risk.

Attorneys for the union deny the allegations. At the time the lawsuit was filed, an attorney for the union said if the resort were ever sold, profits from the sale would go back into the pension funds.

The lawsuit is set for trial in May in U.S District Court in San Francisco.

A spokesman for the Labor Department declined comment on the sale of Konocti or how it could affect the suit.

But the department did hire a consulting firm, HVS International, to assess the value of the property, including as a potential casino site.

Cheryl Schmit, a tribal gaming watchdog who heads Stand Up California, was contacted earlier this month by an HVS representative seeking information about what it would take to establish a casino at the Konocti Harbor resort.

Schmit agreed it would be a tough hurdle to have the land taken into trust by the federal government as well as to obtain a needed gaming compact from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"It's not that easy to say, 'Let's get an Indian tribe and throw up a casino,' " she said.

Three tribal casinos are in Lake County. The largest, Robinson Rancheria Bingo & Casino, has only 600 slots, much smaller than some of the biggest tribal casinos in the state, which have more than 2,000 slots each.

County Supervisor Rob Brown, whose district includes the resort, said he is opposed to casinos in general because they can only be developed in California by tribes and no one else.

"They'll put a casino in there when hell freezes over," he said.

County officials said Konocti Harbor provides an estimated $400,000 annually in bed tax revenue to the county.

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