Judge Dismisses CGA's Lawsuit Against St. Cloud, Costco

Judge Dismisses CGA's Lawsuit Against St. Cloud, Costco Click to Enlarge Photo: Jake Judd (KNSI)

(KNSI) - A Stearns County judge has dismissed the lawsuit filed by a group against the city of St. Cloud over the sale of Heritage Park to Costco.

Judge Shan Wang dismissed the case Tuesday with prejudice - meaning the group cannot refile.

Wang cited the group, Citizens for Government Accountability’s lack of filing within 30 days claiming the sale amounted to an illegal subsidy.

The judge also ruled that the city and Costco can't go after CGA for the cost of their attorneys.

During a hearing on October 25th, the city and Costco argued that CGA didn't file documents within a 30-day time frame, and therefore, the case should be dismissed.

Wang ruled that CGA had lack of jurisdiction to sue because it did not bring legal action within 30 days of the city's response to CGA's first written complaint to the city.

CGA says the 30-day time frame didn't apply because the sale of the land was a constructive subsidy, and they should have had 180 days to respond.

St. Cloud says the deal was never a subsidy so, the 180-day time frame shouldn't be used.

In July of 2018, St. Cloud sold Costco 19 acres of Heritage Park for $3.53 million.

In August of 2018, an anonymous group called Citizens for Government Accountably filed the lawsuit claiming the sale was an illegal subsidy because the land was sold for less than market value.

The six members of CGA identified themselves in September.

They were Tim Torborg, owner of St. Cloud-based Torborg Builders, Chris Coborn, president and chief executive officer of St. Cloud-based Coborn's Inc, Chris Rice, chief executive officer and president of Sauk Rapids-based Rice Companies, Andy Fritz, president of St. Cloud-based El-Jay Plumbing & Heating, P-IKE Investments, a real estate investment firm, and Mike Steil, a dentist with Central Minnesota Pediatric Dentists.

CGA has 60 days to file an appeal.

KNSI News has reached out to the representatives from the city, Costco, and CGA for comment.