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Plaintiffs Proposes the Court Disqualify Legal Counsel in Ellisville Walmart Lawsuit

The attorney for resident Thomas Debold also argued the city did not follow procedure in approving the project's conditional use permit.

During a Wednesday hearing, attorney Jane Ellen Dueker argued that the city of Ellisville erred in several aspects of its Walmart development project.

City resident Thomas Debold filed a lawsuit in November against the city to block the Sansone Group development project that would put a Walmart at the Manchester Road and Kiefer Creek intersection.

During the hearing, Dueker questioned Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul and City Clerk Catherine Demeter, asking them questions regarding the city’s actions in retaining legal counsel and approving the conditional use permit for Walmart.

Dueker also said the city:

  • Did not follow the redevelopment agreement provisions in allowing the Sansone Group to appoint and pay for legal counsel for the city, and made a motion to disqualify opposing counsel;
  • Said city officials did not review and approve pleadings in the case against it and made a motion that the pleadings should be withdrawn;
  • Did not require adequate traffic studies, including those on side roads, that city council members later said they would need;
  • Did not have all property owners sign consent forms for the conditional use permit;
  • Violated an ordinance requiring a 25-foot setback by including an eight-foot-wide sidewalk in the setback.

During testimony, Mayor Adam Paul said he believed the Sansone Group were allowed to provide legal counsel as a result of the redevelopment agreement. The agreement states that the developer could provide legal counsel if a third party claims damages as a result of the development.

Paul said some property owners and residents said the site would impact them financially or damage their property values. However, he said the city had not approved legal counsel.

Dueker also said the project would have the Walmart store tower five stories above neighboring homes.

“Some people are six feet from the property line and because of the elevation of the site, one of the tallest grades in Missouri, they’ll come out of their houses and look up 56 feet to the top of Walmart,” Dueker said.

Paul did acknowledge he wanted more traffic studies performed. He said his concern was the impact on Weiss and a nearby elementary school.

“But the decision I have to abide by is the majority decision of the council,” Paul said.

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge David Lee Vincent III is expected to rule on Dueker’s motions, including those on the city’s legal counsel and pleadings, within 10 days.

Patch could not reach attorneys representing the city Wednesday following the hearing.

For more information on the Ellisville Walmart project, see the following articles:

  • Ellisville Walmart TIF Vote Expected Wednesday
  • Ellisville Walmart Conditional Use Permit Approved
  • Recall Language in Ellisville Charter Declared Unconstitutional
  • Walmart Appeal: What's Next?
  • Ellisville Walmart Battle Reportedly Heading to Court
  • Ellisville Walmart Development Facts and Myths: Part 1
  • Ellisville Walmart Development Facts and Myths: Part 2
  • Ellisville Walmart Development Facts and Myths: Part 3
  • Ellisville Walmart Development Facts and Myths: Part 4
Concerned Ellisville Citizen January 31, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Am praying that Ms. Dueker is a good lawyer and has all her ducks in a row!! NO WALMART IN ELLISVILLE!!! Listen to the residents of Ellisville,we don't want you Walmart!!!
Caffeinated February 07, 2013 at 03:05 PM
http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/editorial-tif-the-movie-should-end-its-st-louis-run/article_6a257963-68fa-5bb6-9c37-5c638d811ffe.html

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