St. Louis County approaches settlement settlement on 2017 lawsuit

The St. Louis County Board is considering whether or not to resolve a lawsuit filed in 2017 for $ 190,000.

The St. Louis County Board will shortly meet to vote on a $ 190,000 settlement agreement to end a 2017 agreement between Paul King and Eric Ringsred, former owners of the building that once housed Kozy Bar and Apartments and St. Regis Apartments. According to the lawsuit, the county was foreclosed on the property too quickly, denying any possibility of repurchase, as well as unlawful seizure and sale by the county to the Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA) in 2016. The lawsuit further argued that the property was confiscated while “King still had a partial interest in the forfeited property,” which was located in downtown Duluth.

Gavel and two hardback books on wooden table; Image by Succo via Pixabay.com.

DEDA is listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, and the proposed settlement would cover claims set out in plaintiffs’ lawsuit against them. In addition, the deal would “enable the county to avoid the costs and risks associated with further litigation”.

What happened? How did the plaintiffs lose their property in the first place? Was there something wrong with the building?

The property in the center of the suit is Pastoret Terrace, located in downtown Duluth on the corner of First Street and Second Avenue East. The property is a building designed by Oliver Traphagen in 1887 and “housed the Kozy Bar and Apartments for a long time”. Unfortunately, the building has been damaged by several fires over the years. The most recent fire occurred on November 1, 2020.

In a letter about the proposed settlement, the district authority said: “The settlement terms are appropriate given the facts and circumstances of the measure.” It added: “St. Louis County is only entering into the settlement agreement to avoid further charges. As part of the settlement, a portion of the funds will “be used to pay the outstanding taxes, assessments, penalties, interest and costs imposed on the property once known as the St. Regis Apartments.” Any remaining funds will be used to “reimburse Plaintiffs for certain costs of maintaining and repairing the St. Regis Apartments”.

Back in January, DEDA was ordered to “temporarily stabilize the facade of the Pastoret Terrace building” until the case is closed or an agreement is approved. St. Louis County took control of the property shortly after Ringsred lost ownership of the property due to tax loss. From there, the county sold the damaged building to DEDA for $ 75,000 and later made it available to DEDA with $ 325,000 to finance the property. ”

Sources:

Louis County plans to wipe Kozy’s hands with $ 190,000

The lawsuit seeks to stop the sale of Kozy in downtown Duluth

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