Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Class Action Lawsuit Filed To Recover Pan Am Plaza Funds

Attorney Paul Ogden made good on his promise and filed a class action lawsuit in Marion Superior Court 13 to recover at least $6 million from the recent sale of Pan Am Plaza property by the Indiana Sports Corporation to private developers, which was supposed to be repaid to the City of Indianapolis as part of a restrictive covenant the City entered into with the ISC when it gave the property to ISC in 1985. The administration of Mayor Bart Peterson rushed through an amendment to the original development agreement which let ISC off the hook for repayment so it could sell of the land for a price the ISC has refused to disclose publicly. The rush to close the deal before Peterson's term ended circumvented the law according to Ogden's suit. Ogden's suit notes the following deficiencies:

  • The resolution approved by the Metropolitan Development Commission made no mention of the original restrictive covenant.
  • The resolution omitted the fact that the amendment to the 1985 development agreement would cause the City to give up $6 million.
  • The resolution was approved by MDC on a voice vote along with other proposals without any public debate.
  • The City is still paying debt obligation for the original cost of purchasing the Pan Am Plaza property, which was rolled into the bond obligations for Circle Centre Mall.
  • State law required Mayor Peterson to bring the proposed change in the redevelopment plan to the City-County Council.
  • State law required that there be notice of the proposed modification in the redevelopment plan, information provided to the public at at public hearing, and an opportunity for the public to remonstrate or object to the change--all after the council approved the resolution.
  • The Metropolitan Commission was required to take final action determining the public utility and benefit of the proposed project.
  • And finally, because the property interest in the covenant exceeded $50,000, City-County Council approval was required.

Hat tip to the Indiana Law Blog, which has more here. See my earlier post on this subject here. Ogden's suit notes that the original development agreement was signed by Michael Browning in his capacity as Vice President of the ISC. Browning's company was later awarded the right to redevelop the property on behalf of the ISC. The ISC recently sold the property in question to a development group including Kite Realty Group. Kite was a major contributor to Mayor Bart Peterson.


Anonymous said...

This is why I don't live in major urban areas. The corruption is so bad, so thick, it makes me sick. I know there are shady things going on in every county of this state, but Lake and Marion County take the award for the most corrupt counties in the state. Your tax dollars at work.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

This is just another in the long list of Peterson corruption deals.

Screw the taxpayer! They don't know any better!

M Theory said...

I wish we had more lawyers who would take on activist work.