Case closed on City Center lawsuit

Supreme Court denies request to hear case

 

Clint Riese
News Editor

After 15 months, much debate and filings in three courts, the civil case regarding the city of Forest Lake’s financing for its new public safety and city hall facility has closed. Construction of the Forest Lake City Center will finish this fall without strings attached, as the Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a petition to hear the case.

Petitioners Cameron Piper, Cassandra Piper, William Anderson and the Lakes Area Business Association in February requested a Supreme Court review following a Jan. 27 Court of Appeals decision in favor of the city of Forest Lake and the Forest Lake Economic Development Authority.

The lawsuit began in January 2013. The plaintiffs contended that state statute required the city to use capital improvement bonds rather than lease revenue bonds for the project. Issuance of capital improvement bonds is subject to public approval via a reverse referendum.

In March 2013 10th Judicial District Court Judge John C. Hoffman granted summary judgement in favor of the defendants, ruling the bonding mechanism used was legal and that no referendum was required. The plaintiffs filed an appeal last April.

  • John Freed

    This is hardly the end of the effort to have leaders who will govern responsibily. On to the ballot box inNovember!

    • Foodonastick

      Yes, where it should have been all along
      Elections matter; if you are unhappy with our City Council’s actions – vote them out

  • Foodonastick

    My goodness, where could anyone ever get the idea that a City Council is elected to make decisions like building a new city hall. I’m just flabbergasted by this activist (3) court(s) ruling.

    Could it be that all three Courts are saying Legislating by Lawsuits is not the American Way?

    I cannot believe that our USA flag draped Constitutional Scholar who preached Mom, Apple Pie and Lawsuits are the American Way could be so wrong; it can’t be, it is the Courts who are mistaken!

    What is going on in this country when a small group of people cannot sue the government as to impose their will on the Citizens of Forest Lake?

    Activist Courts – I fear for the future

  • Cameron Piper

    I want to thank everyone who took the time to speak, debate, door knock, petition, donate and generally be involved in this very important issue. It was a worthy fight and I am amazed to see what the combined efforts of many like-minded individuals can accomplish.

    This case while important, was only the first step in stopping out of control local units of government and the creative financing schemes that they cook up in order to avoid any accountability with the people. The fight now turns to the legislature where we have had conversations with a number of legislators who are concerned about this very issue. In the short term, the MN Court of Appeals has confirmed the death of general obligation bonds, and with it the voice of everyday citizens to have any say in the city palaces being constructed. In the long term, I am certain that the legislature, now armed with a court precedent, will close off this latest scheme cooked up by our Mayor and his friends to abuse their power and avoid the citizens who are supposed to be in charge.

    For those disheartened by this news, I encourage you to have faith. In the words of The American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox: “There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can hinder, circumvent, or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.” Keep vigilante, keep fighting, and never give up.

    • Foodonastick

      Mr. Piper said “This case while important, was only the first step in stopping out of control local units of government”

      I’m smelling more lawsuits

      “This case while important, was only the first step in stopping out of control local units of government”

      Ah yes – a city council voting to build a city hall – yes that is way beyond the scope of a city councils authority and elected responsibilities

      Mr. Piper said “they cook up in order to avoid any accountability with the people”

      Ah there you go again disregarding the whole concept that elections hold politicians accountable
      Let us turn into a city that legislates by lawsuit, where only those who can afford to sue the city will be heard.

      Funny thing is with all your bluster about the support, donations etc. you say you received, I didn’t see any real sustained opposition expressed by the public at the city council meetings the last 15 months. One would think that with the ground swell of support that you say your lawsuit had, the meetings would be packed with people expressing their outrage to the council.

      Just how much in donations did the lawsuit generate from people outside your gang of a few? Please enlighten us.

  • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

    It’s perfectly legal to file a lawsuit and when a lawsuit has merit, which clearly this one did or it would have been dismissed and never allowed to be appealed, it does not allow for recourse of legal fees. This suit was not monetary in nature but rather asked the question of legality. The plaintiffs were not seeking financial damages and that will easily protect them from any future payment to the city. If you don’t like the amount the City of Forest Lake spent, complain to your mayor and council whom voted for the project without sending it to the public and then they choose to spend money on the lawsuit. They could have easily avoided all the expenses.

    • Foodonastick

      Spin City Mr. Langness – the lawsuit only continued because it was appealed, if it wasn’t appealed the lawsuit went away. You’re making it sound like the courts mandated that the lawsuit be appealed; that isn’t true.

      It was dismissed 3 times by three courts with nowhere else for Petitioners Cameron Piper, Cassandra Piper, William Anderson and the Lakes Area Business Association to appeal to after the MN Supreme Court ruled against them.

      The City Council was forced to defend themselves for a decision that three courts said the Council had every right to make. In a sense you are blaming the victim rather than the Petitioners Cameron Piper, Cassandra Piper, William Anderson and the Lakes Area Business Association who wasted the FL taxpayer’s money by continuing
      a lawsuit for 15 months.

      Misleading statements are what get perennial political candidates defeated, if you get my drift

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