Natchez aldermen consider countersuit in condo case

Published 6:18 pm Friday, September 29, 2006

Natchez aldermen consider countersuit in condo case

NATCHEZ (AP) — The Natchez Board of Alderman is considering a countersuit against citizens who sued the city over the sale of property that is to be used as the site of a condominium.

The board authorized City Attorney Everett Sanders on Tuesday to review legal options.

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“The board feels the litigation involved (against the city) is unfair and frivolous,” Mayor Phillip West said after the meeting. Board members “decided we should consider a countersuit to inform people we’re not going to take a frivolous lawsuit lying down.”

The lawsuit against the city is slowing city improvement by bogging down the condo project, West said. The longer it is delayed, he said, the more tax revenue the city will lose.

Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux Mathis was the single dissenting vote.

“I don’t think we should use taxpayers money to sue taxpayers,” Mathis said. “They have the right to question government. I don’t necessarily like it, but I’m not going to vote to use taxpayers money that way.”

Mathis said she had no problem defending the city’s actions in court but that a countersuit would be a wrong move.

In May, just as the city sold an old pecan factory to developers, a group of citizens filed the suit appealing the decision of the city to transfer property to the project’s developers.

In the appeal, the plaintiffs argued the city’s sale of the bluff property, the location of the former Natchez Pecan Shelling Company, for $500,000 less than the apprised value of $700,000 was against state law.

The attorney for the buyers recently said another state law allows such sales if the benefits from the sale justify it.