Tag: Attorney

Real estate attorney Bill Kuehling

Bill advises developers, nonprofit corporations, and public entities on a variety of real estate transactions and infrastructure finance. He has more than 20 years of experience in real estate development, public/private partnerships, land use, and municipal law, and serves as an advisor to national developers seeking tax abatements, tax increment financing, or any other redevelopment opportunities across the St. Louis region.

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Nashua Telegraph

Pennichuck Corp. has named Roland E. Olivier, a longtime corporate attorney, to a new position of general counsel to guide the company in its eminent domain fight with the city of Nashua.

The company said Monday that Olivier also will direct Southwood Corp., a land holding company.

Olivier also said that he looked forward to working again with Pennichuck chief executive Duane Montopoli, who also once worked at Hitchiner.

At the end of July, the state Public Utilities Commission ruled that Nashua could acquire Pennichuck’s waterworks for $203 million plus a $40 million mitigation reserve. While the city considers whether it wants the utility at that price, Pennichuck plans to appeal the ruling.

Thus far, Pennichuck has relied on outside counsel. That would still continue, but Olivier said he would provide some in-house guidance as the company makes decisions on the matter down the road.

Olivier said that most activity at Southwood has been put on hold while legal battle with Pennichuck continues but that the subsidiary "would continue to act as an excellent steward for the watershed for the towns that we serve."

Condemnations of utilities need a full time participant outside of the normal corporate governance structure in order to properly defend the business from an aggressive eminent domain action.  Forced acquisitions require a full time special assistant to guide and protect the corporation.  The guidance of the defense takes a full time employee to guide the work with outside counsel.  The issues run the gamut of trial preparation, leadership and protection of the institution.  Pennichuck is following the required route in defense of the its perpetuation.One has to wonder why this case was not removed to the federal court.  

Asking Judge to Reconsider

Indy Star

Hamilton County officials have decided they want a judge to reconsider his ruling in an eminent domain lawsuit that would provide additional parking in downtown Noblesville.

Superior Court 1 Judge Steve Nation ruled against the county in July in its attempt to obtain land through condemnation of McMillan’s Auto Care in the 500 block of Conner Street.

The judge said the county’s case was flawed because it failed to show how the property would be used or even why it was needed.

County commissioners filed a legal motion Friday to correct errors in Hughes’ ruling. Chuck McMillan, the property’s owner, has until Sept. 30 to respond to the motion.

In his initial ruling, Nation noted the county had access to 344 parking spaces leased from Riverview Hospital and said their availability made it less crucial for the county to take over the McMillan property.


-Governmental agencies all too frequently prevail in these uncertain cases of unknown or unjustifiable desire to take property. 

Some day, the courts will really review whether the finding of a taking is indeed an error of law or abuse of discretion, a standard that all too often leads to a result where the government is perceived to make no mistake even though there is clearly a mistake.

Airport Authority Board Delays

Crain’s Detroit Business, March 21, 2008

The Wayne County Airport Authority board delayed a vote Thursday on a controversial $3.6 billion, 20-year master improvement plan for Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The authority, which governs the airport’s operation, cited public desire for more time to learn about the plan. There are mounting objections from local municipalities, especially the city of Romulus, that decry the displacement of homes, business and schools for a new 10,000-foot runway.

About 200 people, including residents and elected officials, gathered in a meeting room at the Westin Hotel in the airport’s McNamara Terminal in expectation of a presentation by the authority, local officials, and then a vote.

Eminent domain would likely be required to complete the expansion. About 800 residences would need to be demolished, including apartment buildings and single-family homes, to make way for the runway.

-The meaning of the delay and uncertainty will only create a blighting influence, both emotionally and physically, to the areas businesses and residents. It will be tough to transact business or sell a business or a residential parcel when one knows there is a condemnation just down the road.

New Jersey Due Process

-New Jersey has a much-maligned rule that it can designate an area as blighted and ready for development. Under the rule, those individuals in the area must challenge within forty-five days or they forever waive their rights to challenge the condemnation. In Harrison, the City waited six years to designate specific properties. This raises substantial due process issues. To date, owners have been unsuccessful in their challenges to the New Jersey procedure, at least in State court.

Eminent Domain Sought For Ice House

The News Dispatch, January 19, 2008

MICHIGAN CITY – An obstacle in the city’s plans to redevelop the North End could become moot soon after a lawsuit was filed to condemn two properties near Michigan Boulevard and Eighth Street.

Michigan City Redevelopment Commission Attorney Michael Bergerson said Friday he’d filed the suit last week in La Porte Superior Court 3.

The city wants condemned the Weber Sign property, 730 E. Eighth St., and property known as "the ice house," owned by Thomas and Florence Sobkowiak, 748 Michigan Blvd.

The city has tried for more than two years to purchase the properties – two of only three holdouts remaining in a string of properties needed for North End redevelopment.

Owners of Blocksom, a factory complex near Michigan Boulevard and Fifth Street, are in discussions with the city for an anticipated sale and relocation of the facility.

The Webers and Sobkowiaks, however, have refused to budge, as has the city. Bergerson’s request for an eminent domain judgment, he said, is the last step in an arduous process.

The city is offering the Webers and Sobkowiaks $1 each for their properties. Bergerson said the offer is fair – in the eyes of the court – because the land under both properties is "highly contaminated."

"We can’t pay for property that’s also contaminated beyond its value," he said. "They can’t sell it and they’re living in a dream world if they think the taxpayers of Michigan City want to pay for a property and pay to clean it up."

Glenn Kuchel, the Hammond attorney representing Bill and Kathy Weber, the owners of Weber Sign, said Friday the offer of $1 isn’t fair.

If condemnation is granted, an appraiser will settle on values for both properties and offer that amount to the owners. If the owners object to the price, the city will issue a deed and take the properties, but will still debate price with the owners.

-In reading the article and the claim of a “$1” value, one has to wonder whether the community fully understands the choices an owner has even with contaminated property. This is a court filing which was “rushed to judgment,” by the writer of the article, premised on comments of the community. Without question, the writer was not fairly notified of the owners’ rights in this particular factual setting.