Marina District developer wants money back; city makes offer

By JASON SINGER singer@sanduskyregister.com SANDUSKY John Eymann wants back more than $89,000 of his infamous $100,000 deposit. Unless Eymann significantly lowers his request, the city says he'll get nothing.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 22, 2010

 

By JASON SINGER

singer@sanduskyregister.com

SANDUSKY

John Eymann wants back more than $89,000 of his infamous $100,000 deposit.

Unless Eymann significantly lowers his request, the city says he'll get nothing.

Interim city manager Don Icsman said the city followed the development contract and the $100,000 belongs to Sandusky. The city commission hasn't ruled out an amicable settlement to avoid litigation, Icsman said, but Eymann must make what the city views as a much more reasonable offer.

"The money is ours," Icsman said. "We'll try to settle in a good faith way, but we think it's ours."

The controversy stems from the failed Marina District development agreement.

In the agreement, it states the city would only return the $100,000 if Eymann "has obtained all necessary commitments to finance the construction ... and has not defaultedon(his)obligations as required."

Because Eymann didn't secure the financing and meet his obligations in the contract, Icsman said Sandusky has no reason to return the money.

But Eymann's lawyer, Tim Miller, contends Eymann and the city signed the wrong contract, and meant to take that particular wording out.

In a letter to the city's legal counsel, Miller said former city manager Matt Kline and former economic development specialist Scott Schell intendedtoreturnthemoney to Eymann and meant to change the wording in the agreement.

"The parties mutually made a mistake when they signed a previous draft of the agreement that did not accurately reflect the parties' mutual true and final understandings," Miller wrote.

Miller said if the city doesn't return the $100,000, it will negatively affect the city's ability to recruit business in the future.

"The city's continued refusal to honor its duties ... only serves to create and strengthen a perception that the city does not negotiate in good faith, undermines businesses and investors, and is anti-business growth and community development," he wrote.

According to city e-mails, the city may be willing to give Eymann $50,000 as part of a good-faith settlement.

Eymann responded by saying he'd prefer $65,000, plus an extra $24,271 spent on surveying and title work. That comes to a total of $89,271.

But the city's bond counsel, Steve Friedman of Squire, Saders & Dempsey, suggestedEymannmaysettle for less -- about $75,000 -- after having discussions with Eymann's lawyer.

Ultimately, the city commission must approve any settlement deal.