A Montana couple who planned to buy Point Lookout Resort and Conference Center filed a complaint in Waldo County District Court last week claiming that the owner, Athena Point Lookout LLC, a subsidiary of athenahealth, reneged on a promise to sell.

David and Tami Hirschfeld of Choteau, Mont., through their attorney Dana Strout of Rockport, allege in court documents that they negotiated for months with Athena's agent before reaching an agreement early in April to buy the hilltop resort complex.

The Hirschfelds made an offer of $7 million, according to the complaint, and the parties signed a letter of intent on April 5 for the sale of four properties, including the 387-acre Northport parcel that is home to the conference center and resort, along with two smaller lots on the water side of Route 1 in Northport and 4.3 acres in Lincolnville.

A letter of intent typically is followed by a formal purchase and sale agreement. However, the complaint alleges that the letter of intent had all the elements of a contract, including the specific details of the property, an agreed-upon sale price, and a down payment schedule.

The suit alleges that just before the Hirschfelds responded to Athena's offer to sell for $7 million, their agent asked the seller's agent, "If I get them up to $7 million, you aren't going to shop this offer, are you?" to which the seller's agent reportedly answered, "Absolutely not!"

The next day, the suit alleges, Athena's agent contacted the Hirschfelds' agent to say that they received another offer for "a lot more" than $7 million and invited them to submit a higher bid, which their attorney characterized as asking them to "bid against themselves."

The complaint states that the couple had "drastically reduced" prices on several ranch properties they had listed for sale in Montana and had interest parties that were formulating offers based on the lower prices.

The Hirschfelds are asking the court to require Athena Point Lookout to finish the sale according to the terms laid out in the letter of intent and pay attorney fees and damages for any losses related to the renegotiation.

A representative of athenahealth said the company has not reviewed the complaint and has no comment at this time.

Point Lookout, which includes a 20,000-square-foot conference center, an 18,000-square-foot mountaintop executive retreat, 106 log cabins, hiking trails, athletic fields and courts, a farm, a bowling alley and a private beach, was built by MBNA starting in 1997. Athenahealth, through Athena Point Lookout, paid $7.7 million for the complex in 2011.