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  • Kevin Elliott

City manager gets authority to resolve lawsuit

Rochester City Council on Wednesday, March 7, granted the city manager additional authority to address the potential trial or settlement of a lawsuit filed against the city by the owner of a planned dental clinic on Main Street.

The case, Lilly Investments, LLC et al versus City of Rochester, stems from a dental clinic proposed in 2011 that led to a case filed against the city in 2014. An effort by the city to have the case thrown out failed in January 2017, when a federal court of appeals ruled the case would proceed.

Rochester City Manager Blaine Wing said on Thursday, March 9, that city council granted him additional authority as the city seeks resolution of the case. That authority was accompanied by a related, undisclosed budget amendment.

"We are still going through the negotiation process," Wing said. "We are hoping to settle, but council has had a dual path of working toward a settlement and preparing for trial. If we can reach a settlement, I think both sides would be happy."

The case stems from a 2011 decision by the city's planning commission regarding a proposed dental clinic. Dentist Louis Leonor approached the city that September with plans to establish Dentists On Main, 600 N. Main Street. However, disagreements between the city and the applicant stalled, resulting in a filing against the city in 2014.

Among the issues in the case are claims that the city refused to lift a stop-work order on the project or make a final decision on the project unless Leonor agreed to pay $40,000 and waive any legal claims against the city. Leonor claimed the city made the request while keeping hidden a favorable review of the project by the city's own expert.

Wing said a trial date in the case has been pushed back several times and is currently scheduled sometime late summer.

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