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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Port Authority

A Goodhue County judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against the Red Wing Port Authority by technology manufacturing company OSEMI Inc.

First District Judge Kevin Mark dismissed the suit for lack of admissible evidence Monday morning. The suit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning the allegations can't be reargued.

"For all practical purposes, it's done and over with," said attorney Justin Templin, who represented the Port Authority.

OSEMI filed the suit Dec. 15, 2011, alleging that the Port Authority failed to carry out the terms of a lease and purchase agreement for property at 250 Highway 19 Blvd.

OSEMI began leasing the property from the Port Authority in 2007.

In 2010, both organizations signed a memorandum of understanding, which outlined the sale of the property to OSEMI. The MOU stated that OSEMI would pay $225,000, with a down payment of $35,000. OSEMI was to make monthly payments of about $1,140 over the next 10 years with a balloon payment of just under $160,000 due Jan. 1, 2020.

Former Port Authority President Tom Brown and OSEMI President David Braddock signed the memorandum.

In its lawsuit, OSEMI alleged that the lease was for the buildings on the property and the surrounding 10 acres. OSEMI stated that it was believed that the sale would include all 10 acres, not the 4.5 acres outlined in the MOU.

In addition, OSEMI also stated in the suit that the Port Authority was supposed to include an alternate access route from the property to Highway 61 for when access to Highway 19 was cut off when that road was being worked on. OSEMI alleged that the alternative route proposal from the Port Authority was not suitable.

In all, OSEMI alleged five counts against the Port Authority, including failure to comply with the MOU, tortious interference with business relations and damage to business relations. In the suit, OSEMI asked for the Port Authority to comply with the terms of the MOU, plus at least $50,000 in damages and attorney's fees.

In an answer to the suit filed Dec. 21, 2011, the Port Authority denied all of OSEMI's allegations.

In November 2011, the Port Authority served OSEMI with a notice of cancellation of the purchase agreement, stating that no payments had been made. Templin said OSEMI was evicted from the property in September.

The case was scheduled to go to jury trial beginning Monday. Instead, Mark read the dismissal into the court record Monday. Mark how has 90 days to write his official decision.

"We have some disagreements with his dissertations and his decisions, but he is the judge," OSEMI attorney George May said.

Once Mark issues his written order, OSEMI will have 60 days to file an appeal. May said he didn't know if OSEMI plans to do so.

Sarah Gorvin
Sarah Gorvin has been with the Republican Eagle for two years and covers education, business and crime and courts. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2010 with a  journalism degree.