St. Joseph County files judgment against Three Rivers

The law firm representing St. Joseph County’s board of commissioners has filed a complaint for declaratory judgment against the city of Three Rivers.

Troy-based Abbott Nicholson filed the paperwork Monday in St. Joseph County Circuit Court.

The issue centers on the current validity of a contract between the county and the city, and whether Three Rivers has breached its terms of the pact.

County administrator Pat Yoder said the complaint was filed following legal advice and board action. He said due to numerous appeals, the agreement has too many moving parts, that the county’s legal counsel indicated a judicial review is really necessary to clarify the status of the agreement for both parties.

Yoder said there is nothing sinister in the action, it’s merely a matter of clarification.

The next step, Yoder said, is up to the court. It is anticipated that Judge Paul Stutesman will recuse himself from handling the matter and the state’s attorney general will assign the matter to a judge from a nearby county.

Neither John McGlinchey, attorney for the county, nor attorney Pat O’Malley, on behalf of the city of Three Rivers, were available for comment late Tuesday afternoon.

Three Rivers City Manager Joe Bippus said it’s his belief the city is not in any violation.

He said the city has followed the contract to the letter and that the city of Three Rivers is in no violation of the contract.

The county has pledged $2.8 million to the city for development of a 17-field sports complex in an area between North Main Street and Buckhorn Road. The county remains in possession of the money, minus $755,000 the city used to purchase the property.

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One comment

  1. Paul E Stutesman

    I did recuse myself. It is now up to the other judges in the County to decide if they will also. If they do the State Court Administrator’s Office will assign it to another judge NOT the Attorney General. It is Complaint for a Declaratory Judgment not a judgment.

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