Rochester City Council Asked to End One Legal Fight, Open Another
The agenda for Monday's meeting of the Rochester City Council includes two items dealing with legal fights.
The City Council is being asked to approve a resolution authorizing the use of city contingency funds and money from the Downtown Abatement Fund to cover a judgment issued by an Olmsted County judge against the city in a court fight involving the historic Chateau Theater. The plan would draw down the remaining $662,000 in the city's 2023 contingency fund while also tapping the Downtown Abatement Fund for up to $138,000.
The judgment in the case of Exhibits Development Group versus the City of Rochester totals just over $735,000 plus interest. The actual damage award to the business was about $335,000, but the judge presiding in the case also ordered the city to pay $300,000 in attorney fees. The city will also pay $100,000 for an insurance deductible.
The legal dispute between the city and EDG went to trial in August and it Olmsted County jury rendered a verdict in early August that awarded the $335,000 judgment for damages to the St. Paul firm, which was hired by the city to operate the Chateau Theater a few months before the arrival of the COVID pandemic. EDG successfully claimed it had incurred damages while trying to open and operate the theater and court documents filed by the company placed most of the blame on the city.
The City Council is also scheduled to vote on a resolution calling for the city's participation in pending settlements and future legal actions involving manufacturers of PFAS, which are often referred to as "forever chemicals." The resolution recommends hiring two law firms to represent the city in the legal proceedings involving 3M and DuPont.
It's anticipated that any funding received by the city through the pending settlements would be used to address potential federal and state regulations involving the chemical compounds and their associated health impacts. Officials note the city will also pursue assistance from the state or federal government to limit the impact on local property owners.
Rochester Mayor Kim Norton, during her regular monthly appearances on News-Talk 1340 KROC-AM and 96.9 FM during the Rochester Today show has discussed concerns that government regulators could impose strict standards that could require very costly upgrades to the city's wastewater treatment plant. She has indicated some estimates put the cost as high as $100 million.
Iconic Kahler Grand Hotel Sign Comes Back to Life
Gallery Credit: Jessica On The Radio