XENIA — The owner of a Towne Square building is suing the City of Xenia.

The 53-page lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on behalf of Blue Rock Investments, LLC and Boymel Family, LLC, claims the city’s demolition of the former K-Mart building in Towne Square damaged an adjacent building — owned by the plaintiffs and formerly occupied by Fulmer’s — and that the city abused its powers to coerce Blue Rock into selling the building for a low-ball price.

The five-count complaint alleges retaliation in violation of the first and 14th amendments, deprivation of property and liberty interests without due process of law, unreasonable seizure of property in violation of fourth amendment to the United States Constitution, breach of contract, and negligence.

The plaintiffs have asked for a jury trial and seek compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and costs, and “Any other declarative, injunctive or other equitable relief this Court deems just and appropriate.”

“There will be evidence to demonstrate hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to this property,” said Joseph Miller, the Columbus-based attorney for Blue Rock and Boymel. “My client wants and needs the building repaired.”

The lawsuit alleges that because the two buildings adjoined one another, “the city knew that demolition of the K-Mart’s wall and roof tied to the Fulmer’s Building required special care and skill in order to prevent damaging the Fulmer’s Building. However, when the K-Mart was demolished in or around January 2017, the city and/or its agents failed to perform the demolition in a workmanlike manner such that the city’s demolition undermined the Fulmer’s Building’s foundation and left holes in the Fulmer’s Building’s exterior wall.”

Instead of addressing the damages, the city allegedly attempted to purchase the building to “make way for its new street” that’s part of the city’s redevelopment plan, but failed to provide Blue Rock with a “reasonable offer,” the lawsuit said.

When Blue Rock balked, attorneys allege that the “city’s negotiator directed the city’s code enforcement officer to issue citations against Blue Rock for violations of the city’s zoning code — all of which stemmed from the city’s negligent demolition of the K-Mart building.” Xenia Fire Division also issued citations against Blue Rock stemming from the damage to the fire suppression system caused by the city’s demolition, the lawsuit said.

“Throughout the spring and summer after the damage occurred, the city embarked on a pattern of harassment and coercion upon my client,” Miller said. “They city never offered fair market value. My client is interested in getting a tenant in the building and being a part of the revitalization of the Xenia Town Square. They city should be partnering with my client rather than harassing.”

“The City was served a lawsuit at 2:47 pm today,” said Lee Warren, city spokesperson. “To my knowledge, the city law department has not reviewed it in its entirety but when it does will respond accordingly via the proper legal channels. It’s also important to note however, that per current procedure, the city does not opine on pending legal litigation.”

By Scott Halasz

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Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.