Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Senior center wins property dispute

Hailey resident claimed ownership to property


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

    A Hailey resident has failed in a legal effort to be granted ownership of property that sits under part of the Senior Connection building on 721 Third Ave. S.
    Daniel Thomas filed a suit in 5th District Court in Hailey on March 21, 2012, contending that he bought the parcel—a vacated portion of Cedar Street—in June 1998, before it was sold to the city in November 1999. The suit asked for an order quieting title in Thomas’ name and sought damages for trespass.
    The city holds title to the property, but the nonprofit Blaine County Seniors Council, which owns the Senior Connection building, obtained a 100-year lease on it in 1981.
    On May 9, Judge Robert Elgee granted a motion for summary judgment filed by the city and the Seniors Council.
    In a brief in support of the motion, filed on March 21, City Attorney Ned Williamson contended that Thomas was precluded from bringing any court action by an Idaho law that requires claims against a city to be filed within six months of the time they arose or should have been discovered. Williamson stated that Thomas had all the information he needed to file a claim at least by 2005.
    When Cedar Street was vacated, half the street went to the Seniors Council and half to adjacent property owners Frank and Lorene Arambarri, who later sold their share to the city for $54,000. Thomas claimed the Arambarris had already sold it to him, and he offered to sell it to the city again, for the same amount.
    “The senior center, realistically, couldn’t afford to buy it again,” Seniors Council attorney Ed Simon said following the court decision.
Greg Moore: gmoore@mtexpress.com




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