Mayor Lyn Bailey, reading from a prepared statement about the proposed 2006-2007 budget at last week’s city council meeting, announced last week that the city had requested its attorney to drop all appeals in the four-years-old legal dispute between the city and Headley Bluff Land Company.
“Having lost in two courts and facing losses on all appeals, the city has asked our attorney to stop all appeals and ask judges to make decisions on what our obligations are and to stop all litigation,” Mayor Bailey read aloud.
Previously in the statement, it reads that — though the city has no bonded debt — it will be borrowing money “for payment of our property and liability insurance in order to take a five percent discount on policy (by paying all at once, rather than monthly).”
“Why borrow money when you have money?” continues the statement. “We do so for at this time we have 32 pending or threatened legal claims against the city.”
The statement continues to recap a series of rulings by Judges Jill Clark, Dennis Foust and Bill Cunningham made against the city in favor of homeowners who have sued for back taxes.
“Due to these decisions we feel we need to have a reserve to pay claims,” Mayor Bailey read.
“We’ve got to stop,” Bailey told The Cadiz Record after the meeting. “We just keep spending money (on the proceedings).”
Bailey said he gave the instructions to attorney Steve Underwood within the last month.
“We want the judge to tell us what to do,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens.”
The announcement came as a surprise to George Zering, one of two residents named as plaintiffs in a class-action suit against the city that is currently awaiting certification.
“I am just stunned that at long last they finally did something right,” he said.
Speaking the day after Mayor Bailey made the announcement, Zering said he would still proceed with the class-action suit, though the city is making plans to pay all claims for back-taxes.
“There are a lot of people in this world who have a lot of fear and trepidation about going into a courtroom,” he said. Continuing to pursue the suit, Zering said, will allow his neighbors to more easily claim back-taxes.
The announcement also came as news to Logan Askew, attorney for the litigants against the city.
“I’m not sure what to make of all that,” he said, adding that Underwood has submitted nothing to the courts confirming that the city has decided to drop all appeals
For the rest of this story read this week's Cadiz Record.