Kentucky City Sued for $12M After It Foils RV Park Plan
A lawsuit filed by Lakeview RV Park LLC against the city of Richmond, Ky., seeks a minimum of $12 million in damages for the city’s attempt to cancel a contract leasing Camp Catalpa to the company for use as an RV park.
The suit, filed Oct. 29 in Madison Circuit Court, names the city as a defendant along with city commissioners Robert Blythe, Bill Strong and Mike Brewer, former city commissioner Kay Cosby Jones and former city manager David Evans, according to the Richmond Register.
Each of the commissioners, including Jones, is being sued both individually and in their official capacities as elected officials.
According to a copy of the complaint, Lakeview RV Park alleges that after the Richmond City Commission voted Feb. 26, 2008, to allow Mayor Connie Lawson to enter into a 40-year lease between Lakeview and the city, Blythe, Brewer, Jones and Strong met in violation of the Kentucky Open Meetings Act to decide to overturn the lease.
At a March 25, 2008, meeting, Strong made a motion to rescind the lease, despite the issue not being listed on the meeting’s agenda, the suit states.
Jones seconded the motion, the suit states, despite an admission that nothing in the lease empowered the city to revoke the lease without just cause.
The four commissioners voted to rescind the lease, while Lawson abstained.
According to the suit, the commission’s decision to rescind the lease deprived Lakeview of the property without due process as well as “the profits and benefits to which it was entitled under the lease.”
The suit also alleges Lakeview has sustained damages including loss of investment and the cost of attorney fees.
All the defendants are accused of violating the due process guarantees of the state and federal constitutions in the suit by taking actions described as “willful, malicious and taken with the specific intent” or “with reckless disregard” for due process, and the suit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages as well as legal fees and court costs.
The city is accused of breach of contract for rescinding the lease after it was signed, and Lakeview seeks a judgment awarding the company a return of its investment, lost profits over the full 40 years of the lease, attorney fees, court costs and interest.
The commissioners are accused of interference with contractual relations for voting to rescind the lease without just cause, and the suit seeks monetary damages “including but not limited to direct economic and consequential damages” as well as punitive damages for their actions.
The suit asks for a jury trial on the issues in the case.
Attempts to reach Richmond City Attorney Garrett Fowles on Monday for comment went unreturned.