Legal Bill Rising for Conway Corp Over Land Issue

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 12:00 am  

Karen Cooper said her 17,620 SF of farmland is worth more than Conway Corp.’s offer of $881. (Photo by Jason Burt)

Cooper rejected the offer. She got an appraisal that said the land was worth $6,156 and that taking the property would result in $3,585 worth of damage to the remainder of her property, according to her counterclaim.

Since they couldn’t agree on a price, Conway Corp. and the city of Conway filed a lawsuit in Faulkner County Circuit Court in September 2011 to take the property under eminent domain. The price was to be determined later.

Conway City Attorney Michael Murphy filed the lawsuit to take the property.

Murphy told Arkansas Business last week that Conway Corp. wanted to hire the Millar Jiles firm because “it looked like it was going to become a contested matter.”

He said at that time the city was under a hiring freeze, and he was the only attorney in the City Attorney’s Office. Conway Corp. is its own entity and can choose its own legal representation, Murphy said.

Murphy wouldn’t say if Conway Corp. has spent too much on attorney fees.

“Ultimately, that’s a decision for Conway Corp. and their board and their CEO,” he said. “It’s always easy to Monday-morning quarterback.”

Walker said last week that he had offered a final price of $17,500 in November 2011, which is a result of the increased damage to her surrounding property.

Cooper said in an affidavit that her property and soil were damaged when Conway Corp. installed the water line.

“My bull injured one of its hind legs when it stepped into one of the large sink holes located on the portion of my property where Conway Corp.’s construction occurred,” she wrote in the affidavit in October 2012. “My land has eroded, and continues to erode on the portion of my property where Conway Corp.’s construction occurred.”

Delay and More Delay

The case was set for trial on Oct. 12, 2012. But the afternoon before the trial, Circuit Judge Michael Maggio issued an order clarifying his previous ruling that said the landowners couldn’t raise the issue of damages at the trial.

 

 

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