City preps to defend against Machinery Row lawsuit
RACINE The Racine City Attorney’s Office is preparing to defend employees and current and former officials against allegations in a federal lawsuit related to a development project once called Machinery Row.
The lawsuit was filed at the end of December by property owners who claim they had to move their businesses as a result of the riverfront development proposal. Machinery Row was the name for a proposed $65 million commercial and residential project for a 20 acre area north of Water Street and east of Marquette Street. In January, City Attorney Scott Letteney began the process of obtaining permission for his office to defend against the lawsuit.
“It is routine for my office to represent current and former employees and officials who are sued for actions alleged to have been taken pursuant to their City duties,” Letteney said in an email.
Racine’s Finance and Personnel Committee recommended approval of Letteney’s request at its Jan. 22 meeting. meeting Tuesday.
Suit seeks compensation, damages
The plaintiffs in the suit are: Richard Olson, Racine Indoor Motocross, Marquette Warehouse, Marquette Distribution Center,
Urban Sustainable Aquaponics, Riverside Business Center, Sam Azarian Sons Marina, Azar and Azarian Wrecking.
They asked for a jury trial and seek compensation for their property, relocation benefits and damages. The plaintiffs also want the defendants to produce a relocation plan for the Machinery Row site.
Court records indicate the defendants have until Feb. 28 to respond to the complaint. The deadline represents a stipulated agreement between the parties in the case, dated Jan. 29.
A separate suit was also filed in Racine County Circuit Court regarding expenses related to Machinery Row. In that case, Patrick Fagan seeks compensation for costs he alleges to have incurred as a tenant displaced for the development. The summons and complaint in that case were filed on Dec. 20.
“It is routine for my office to represent current and former employees and officials who are sued for actions alleged to have been taken pursuant to their City duties.” Scott Letteney