Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

BREAKING - Hummel vs. City lawsuit settled
See the Sept. 22 Regional News for full coverage

by Lisa Seiser

September 15, 2011

It's over.

The $123 million suit filed by Geneva Ridge Joint Venture against the city was settled today.

City Attorney Dan Draper told the Regional News Thursday morning that the city's insurance carrier paid Geneva Ridge, also known as Hummel, $2.1 million to settle the action. The city did not contribute to the settlement.

The settlement releases all claims by Geneva Ridge against the city and current and former aldermen and past plan commissioners, one citizen and the League of Municipalities insurance company from any further liability.

Draper stated in press release Thursday that the settlement "remained in doubt even after the city amended the Comprehensive Plan on Aug. 30.

"A lot of speculation was made that the Comprehensive Plan was amended to settle the lawsuit," he wrote. "That is not accurate."

Draper included a brief timeline regarding the mediation sessions between the city's insurance company and Geneva Ridge Joint Venture.

On Feb. 23, the Federal Court ordered the parties to mediate. The first of which occurred on April 5. That day ended with no resolution, Draper stated.

On April 6, Geneva Ridge filed a letter with the city asking it to amend the Comprehensive Plan. On April 7, the court again ordered the parties to attend another mediation session on May 11. More mediations were held on June 3, 10 and 17.

Draper wrote that on June 13, attorneys for the parties "entered into a memorandum of understanding that established certain parameters for a settlement." However, Geneva Ridge "reserved its right to finalize the settlement after the vote on the amendment of the Comprehensive Plan" Draper said.

"As part of the Memorandum of Understanding, the city agreed to vote on the petition by Aug. 31, but it was specifically provided that the Memorandum of Understanding in no way bound the city to vote one way or the other on Geneva Ridge's request," Draper said. "In fact, the recommendation by the Planning Commission and the amendment to the Comprehensive Plan that was ultimately passed by the City Council was different from the request by Geneva Ridge Joint Venture and different from the parameters set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding. As a result, neither the city nor Geneva Ridge Joint Venture were bound to settle the case after the amendment process was complete."

Geneva Ridge, owners of 718 acres of land on the southeast side of the city and also known as Hummel, was suing the city claiming “unlawful conduct by certain city officials who control the local government.” Geneva Ridge claimed a “systematic and ongoing pattern of intentional unequal treatment of Geneva Ridge Joint Venture from others similarly situated without any rational basis. According to their claim, city officials individually and collectively have abandoned and ignored legal obligations of their elected offices, as well as the rules, regulations and procedures of their own municipal zoning ordinances.”

See the complete story, including reactions from city officials and the developers in the Sept. 22 edition of the Regional News.