County board discusses TIF lawsuit in closed session

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NEWPORT — The Washington County Board held a closed session on a court case still brewing, though it had been dismissed back in January.

The case was filed last May by Newport businesses — Libby Real Estate Holdings, LLC; Gale Libby and Mark Court, LLC — against the Washington County Community Development Agency, arguing they "illegally" filed a tax increment financing district on the north end of the community.

The TIF district created by the CDA in December 2016 is located on the northern edge of Newport, bounded by Interstate 494, Highway 61, Maxwell Avenue and 21st Street.

A Washington County judge dismissed the case in Jan. 10.

Over the last few weeks, there have also been memos filed in the case refuting the payment of over $130,000 in CDA and county attorney fees ordered by the judge when he dismissed the case.

The filing argues the financial documents do not give the amount of detail required for their reimbursement, as well as being early to ask for payment because they have not reached the deadline to appeal.

The plaintiff's lawyer said they are still determining whether or not to appeal.

The bounty board held a closed session during their board meeting Feb. 27 to discuss the case going forward.

The board meeting agenda said that the session was closed "to seek legal advice concerning litigation strategy and possible settlement options" in the pending case.

Minnesota statute Minn. Stat. 13D.05 Subd 3(b) allows a government board to close a meeting based for client-attorney privilege.