Eminent domain deal struck: Tiffin (OH) Advertiser-Tribune, 6/27/06

By Jill Gosche

The parties in an eminent domain case [in Tiffin OH] reached a settlement Tuesday, and a university is to pay $430,000 for the property.

Earl McGimpsey, the judge assigned to the case, said the plaintiff and defendants in Tiffin University vs. Stanley Rosenblatt, et al., have a settlement contingent on TU receiving grant money to remediate and clean up any environmental problems at the scrapyard property at 322 Miami St.

If the university is successful in its quest for funds, officials are to complete a purchase agreement and exchange deeds, he said.

“Believe me folks, you are now bound,” McGimpsey said at the conclusion of Tuesday’s session.

The sides started negotiating around 2 p.m. and returned to the Seneca County Common Pleas courtroom around 4:45 p.m. to announce the agreement. The proceedings ended before 6:30 p.m.

“My client and I went to court today to negotiate a settlement. Tiffin University also came prepared to negotiate a settlement,” said John Barga — attorney for Dennis Harrod, president of Harrod Corp. — following the court proceedings. “None of the other property owners were willing to negotiate at all. … Without the efforts of my client and Tiffin University, I don’t believe we would have reached a settlement (Tuesday).”

Derek DeVine — TU’s attorney — said Harrod hopefully is to sign the agreement today, and Rosenblatts are to sign it Thursday.

He said after the court proceedings the agreement states Harrod is to sell his portion for $140,000 and is allowed to use parts of the property for his business ventures until TU needs the property.

Also, TU is to pay the Rosenblatt family $290,000.

“They get to divide that any way they see fit,” he said. “They’ve all agreed to sell it to us for 290.”

Thomas Sobecki, Charles Rosenblatt’s lawyer, said his client claims ownership of one-third of the property. Negotiations regarding how the money is to be divided between the Rosenblatt family members are ongoing, he said.

He said he’s optimistic Charles Rosenblatt is to reach a resolution with the other members of his family.

“I’m working to that end,” he said in the courtroom.

Sobecki said after the proceedings Charles Rosenblatt signed a paper stating he doesn’t oppose TU’s purchase of the property and accepts $290,000 as the settlement for the Rosenblatt family.

“He’s always been on good terms with the school,” he said.

DeVine said the sale is contingent on TU receiving a $750,000 Clean Ohio grant. TU’s intention is to dismiss the eminent domain case if the school does not receive the grant, he said.

Michael A. Grandillo, vice president for development and public affairs at TU, said — after the day’s proceedings in court — the university received a deadline extension from Dec. 31 to Friday because the grant administrators thought the school officials were working on a good program.

“Everything’s done except the purchase agreement to put into the grant,” he said.

Grandillo said the grant application for property remediation is to sit in the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library for 45 days.

“It needs to sit in the library before June 30,” he said.

Barga said he’s hopeful the state of Ohio approves TU’s application for the grant money.

“If that happens, then we will have finality to this entire case,” he said. “The past couple of months have been especially hard on my client, who has struggled to make arrangements to keep his business going and try to make plans for the future. … At the present time, we have some plans spelled out in the purchase agreement, which include the continued use of the impound lot, the block building on Fairfield (Avenue) and some of the other grounds.”

Stanley Rosenblatt said following the court proceedings his family always has had a willingness to cooperate with the university.

“I’m always pleased when a case is settled. I think it will be beneficial to everyone,” he said. “What’s good for the university is good for the town.”

Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune: http://www.advertiser-tribune.com