Private investigator hired to dig into defunct Mount Carmel saleA Mount Carmel property owner is prepping to take legal action against Red Wing over a land sale the city walked away from in February.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
A Mount Carmel property owner is prepping to take legal action against Red Wing over a land sale the city walked away from in February.
Mayor John Howe received a call from a private investigator March 17 asking about a defunct deal in which Red Wing intended to buy 340 acres from Tom and Carrie Furlong on the Mount Carmel bluff top near the city's western edge for $1.75 million. Howe said he declined to discuss the deal.
The Furlong's attorney, Tom Gorman, said he hired the investigator. Gorman has also filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all e-mail correspondence between city officials pertaining to the sale.
"We're just gathering all the information we think we're entitled to," Gorman said.
Gorman didn't say if his clients will indeed sue, but that they're weighing their options.
Howe, a critic of the deal, said his conversation with the investigator was friendly but he didn't feel comfortable talking about the issue. Red Wing's attorney has since told City Council members not to talk with the investigator.
The council voted down the deal to buy the land -- which the city had intended to use as a depository for treated wastewater sewer sludge - in February after Mt. Carmel residents raised objections to the proposal.
Red Wing currently struggles to store and dispose of its sludge, often referred to as biosolids.
After a closed session council session Dec. 14, 2009, City Council President Mike Schultz and Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann signed a purchase agreement to buy the Mt property. The agreement was also signed by the Furlongs.
Kuhlmann said the agreement isn't binding because the full council didn't vote to approve it in open session. She said it merely outlined terms of the would-be deal.
Red Wing did not attach any earnest money to the purchase agreement.