Plaintiffs Seeking New Judge, Trial in Case Against Franklin County - The Missourian: County

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Plaintiffs Seeking New Judge, Trial in Case Against Franklin County

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Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2012 10:00 am | Updated: 3:11 pm, Thu Oct 24, 2013.

Three men who sued the Franklin County Commission in a case that was dismissed last month want a new trial and a new judge.

The plaintiffs in the case, including a candidate for the commission, filed motions Monday to have the dismissal set aside and to have a new judge assigned to hear the case.

Art LeBeau, Villa Ridge, one of three plaintiffs in the case, provided copies of motions seeking a new trial and a new judge to The Missourian.

The plaintiffs’ lawsuit challenges a commission order authorizing a single signature to enter into contractual agreements

The suit was filed after the commission passed an order empowering Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer to sign documents pertaining to the refinancing of roughly $60 million in leasehold bonds. The county issued the bonds in 2007-2009 to fund the construction of the new judicial and administrative centers as well as for paving hundreds of miles of county roads.

The plaintiffs claim that the commission is “ceding their elected responsibilities and committing malfeasance in office” by allowing one member to sign documents in behalf of the entire commission.

The case was dismissed June 20 by Associate Circuit Judge John B. Berkemeyer.

Berkemeyer’s judgment stated that the plaintiffs failed “to allege sufficient allegations to sustain any cause of action for a permanent injunction.”

In the new motions, LeBeau, Ron Keeven, New Haven, and Eric Reichert, Villa Ridge, object to Berkemeyer’s quick decision to dismiss their case.

Threatens Another Suit

LeBeau said Tuesday he will sue the county over the same issue — designating a single signatory — for a commission order approved at this week’s meeting.

The order designates Griesheimer to sign a $2,500 contract for licensing appraisal software for the assessor’s office.

LeBeau called the agreement “pathetic” and chastised commissioners for not having an understanding of the agreement.

He said the agreement states that any litigation will be heard in Linn County, Iowa, where software manufacturer Vanguard is based.

Vincent contested that point and said that the contract specifically states that Missouri laws will be applied, even though it will be in an Iowa court.

LeBeau attempted to object at the commission meeting, stating “he lied,” in regard to Vincent’s comments, but was shouted down by Griesheimer.

“I’ve heard little snips and comments and I’m not going to stand for it. We’re here to conduct business,” Griesheimer said.

According to a copy of the license agreement available on the county’s website, “this agreement shall be governed by the laws of the state of Missouri, without regard to conflicts of law provisions.”

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