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Yet Another Civil Suit Plagues City of Lake...
Yet Another Civil Suit Plagues City of Lake Lotawana From Chamberlain Era
December 5, 2013
By Stephen Wagner
Former Mayor Howard Chamberlain’s legacy continues to plague the City with the recent filing of another civil suit by a former litigant, Village by the Lake, LLC.
It is the second civil complaint filed by that corporation against the City for “Breach of Contract.” The current action was filed on November 25th and the case number is 1316-CV29555.
Cases against the City can be viewed at the following website by entering the referenced case number:
The previous complaint, 1116-CV21914 was filed on August 17th, 2011. According to Case.Net (URL is listed above) lists that that complaint was “Dismissed by Parties” on November 29th, 2012 with a previous entry “Order – case settled – moot MSJ.”
Breach of contract is not covered by the City’s insurance carrier, MOPERM. To defend the first case the City expended in excess of $110,000 of taxpayer money.
During the first suit, then Mayor Howard Chamberlain acknowledged that he was a business partner of Arron Day, then the owner of Village By The Lake, LLC. Despite that obvious conflict of interest Chamberlain conducted private negotiations with Mr. Day which were eventually disclosed to the Board of Aldermen. Late, after pressure from some of the Aldermen, then Mayor Chamberlin recused himself, yet continued to participate in discussions about the case with the Aldermen and Mr. Day.
Chamberlain’s primary business association with Arron Day regarded Austin Motors, a company owned by Chamberlain’s son. Chamberlain used Mr. Day’s premises on Main Entrance Drive as the location for Austin Motors. Mr. Day also owns a used car business. State laws regulate signage, telephone locations, and the make up of lots where used cars may be viewed.
In the spring of 2013, then Mayor Chamberlain ordered then Code Enforcement Officer Frank Davis to issue a business license to Mr. Day for a pawn shop named “All Day Pawn.” This was in direct contradiction to state law (RSMo. 367) which sets standards for pawn shops and requires that specific city ordinances be enacted to control said pawn shops.
The new complaint alleges that the City of Lake Lotawana broke a contract signed with the Plaintiff (Village by the Lake) with respect to primarily two pieces of property that were to be developed. These two primary parcels are known by the names Oxford Pointe and Harbor Village.
The plaintiff alleges that the City either failed to “construct, provide, and maintain sewer service and infrastructure to the southeast corner [Oxford Pointe]” and that the City also failed to “obtain all easements and right of ways necessary to provide service” to the same location.
The same two charges are made regarding Harbor Village with the service point to have been the “East side of Missouri Highway 7 and the north side of the entrance of Gate 3.”
The crux of the dispute appears to be contained in paragraphs 16 and 17:
“16. Without sewer connections, Plaintiff cannot develop the subject properties in accordance with the contracts entered into by Plaintiff and Defendant that are attached hereto as Exhibits A and B.
17. Without sewer connections, or the possibility of sewer connections in the foreseeable future, the properties known as Oxford Pointe and Harbor Village have greatly declined in value and have been made unsaleable.”
Village by the Lake is demanding $2,249,340.05 and additionally monthly damages of approximately $5,000 per month since August 17, 2011, including special damages, and interest as well as all legal costs and attorney’s fees.
A case management conference is scheduled for February 28th, 2014 at 8:30 AM with Judge James F. Kanatzar.
Judge Kanatzar is a former Jackson County Prosecutor and is a member of The Missouri Bar Board of Governors.
For citizens that would like unfiltered information as to what their local government is involved in, please go to the following link: Click Here to download the petition.
********* UPDATE **********
We apologize for the typo of Mr. Chamberlin's name.
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