City Center lawsuit appeal heard

A three-judge panel from the state Court of Appeals heard oral arguments this morning, Nov. 13, in the case regarding the approval of the Forest Lake City Center, the city hall and public safety facility being constructed at the former Northland Mall site.

Judges John R. Rodenberg, Margaret H. Chutich and Michelle A. Larkin will render their decision within 90 days.

Fritz Knaak, attorney for appellants Lakes Area Business Association, Cameron Piper, Cassandra Piper and William Anderson, was given 15 minutes to state his case to open the hearing at the Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul. James Thomson, representing the city of Forest Lake and the Forest Lake Economic Development Corporation, followed with the respondents’ case. Knaak was allotted a five-minute rebuttal to end the proceeding.

Look for further coverage to be posted online this week.

  • FLRanger

    If this lawsuit is dismissed, I sure hope the Judge requires those responsible for wasting the Forest Lake Taxpayer’s money defending the Mayors and City Council’s decision, to reimburse the City for all legal fees and FL staff lost time salaries spent on this matter
    I would also like to see the total cost to the taxpayers in addition to the names of the individuals and businesses that are responsible published in the newspaper article about the lawsuit being dismissed.
    If the Mayor and City Council are found to be wrong, I hope everyone remembers it when the Mayor and City Council are up for reelection.

    • FLRanger (since you refuse to use your actual name) –

      Since you believe that the group who filed suit against the city should be liable for legal fees and expenses if they do not prevail do you also believe that the City should reimburse the group for the legal fees and time they spent on it if they win?

      The reality is that this lawsuit has merit, as a previous judge indicated. The odds of anyone collecting the others attorney fees would be highly unusual in a case like this. Secondly, the mayor and council members who voted for this should be tossed out as they could have avoided the entire expenditure if they had simply put it to a vote like the thousands of citizens that signed the petition! If they only cared about the public opinion … just a vote, that’s all this group asked for!

      • FLRanger

        “The reality is that this lawsuit has merit, as a previous judge indicated”?

        From today’s FL Times “The case commenced on Jan. 28. The lawsuit was heard in 10th Judicial District Court on March 1, and on March 21 Judge John C. Hoffman granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, ruling the bonding mechanism used was legal and that no referendum was required.”

        Thousands…how many thousands, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20,000 signed the petition?

        In a fantasy world the Mayor and Council would reimburse the City for legal fees etc.; yes I would go for that if the lawsuit prevails

        If the lawsuit is dismissed again, do you expect another appeal?

        • Tess

          In another article on the site,
          “residents presented the city with a petition signed by more than 1,000 residents”
          I’ll round that up to 2,000. In a city with a current population of almost 19,000 people, that’s about 10%. Not very many.

          • Guest

            Tess keep in mind that those eligible to sign the petition were only those of proper voting age and residents of the community. The number is a bit more impressive when you consider that the signatures were gathered in only two days. Imagine how many we could have gathered if we had taken 2 weeks or even 2 months.

          • Foodonastick

            Who verified if those signing the petition were of proper voting age and residents of the community?
            I really am curious in a case like this petition if there is any requirement for verification.

        • FL Ranger (since you hide your real name) –

          I actually read the response from the judge and parts of it were in favor of the defendants and parts in favor of the plaintiffs. Did you specifically see where he said it was ripe for review of the higher courts? That is why I said it has merit. If it had no merit, he would have dismissed it entirely and never wrote anything of that nature.

          I’m not saying the Mayor and Council reimbursing the City, but rather do you feel that when the plaintiffs win the lawsuit should the city reimburse them (the plaintiffs).

          I’m well aware of the lawsuit and the process it has taken. Believe it or not, but I am not one of the plaintiffs, did not financially donate to the cause and I also was not one of the THOUSANDS of citizens signatures. With that said, I don’t know what future plans are of the group and honestly if I did know I wouldn’t share that with some unknown online troll.

          • Foodonastick

            Eric Langness wrote

            “That is why I said it has merit. If it had no merit, he would have dismissed it entirely and never wrote anything of that nature”

            There you go again; answer one simple yes or no question

            Would this lawsuit be alive and kicking if Mr. Piper and his group hadn’t appeal Judge Hoffman’s decision? Yes or No

            Your statement is implying that Judge Hoffman’s ruled partially in favor of Mr. Piper and his group suing the city. Just what part of the lawsuit was upheld by Judge Hoffman? Specifics please
            If Judge Hoffman partially upheld any part of the lawsuit (that wanted a referendum vote), why is city hall construction proceeding?

          • FLRanger

            Mr. Langness, just because a person protects their identity does make them a troll. Just because a person gives their opinion and ask a question or two doesn’t (that you apparently don’t like) doesn’t mean you should act like a child and start the offensive name calling. Just what was written by me that you find so offensive? Your post is a perfect example why so many people involved in social media recommend people to protect your identity; there are a lot of wackos out there.
            I thank Mr. Piper for answering my question about appeals.

        • Guest

          I am certain that this case will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Neither party having come this far is willing to let the issue fail without a final decision from the highest court in the state.