Block Communications files to dismiss lawsuit from City of Toledo

Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 2:38 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Block Communications Inc. filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit from the City of Toledo seeking to recoup the money the city paid to move Buckeye Broadband’s utility lines for the Summit Street reconstruction project.

Toledo filed the lawsuit against BCI on June 10, 2021, arguing the company should be responsible for the costs despite a 2020 email from the city’s law director saying Toledo should pay for the move because it was an aesthetic change. Toledo paid more than $972,000 to move the lines but did not pay to cover the costs for other utility companies. The project has sparked questioning from the FBI.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz told 13abc the city paid for the utility lines because BCI threatened legal action and the city wanted to avoid delays in the Summit Street reconstruction project.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, BCI said the company should not be responsible for the costs as the city willingly paid to move the cable lines.

The statement reads as follows:

The move to dismiss the suit comes hours before Toledo City Council is passed a resolution demanding the city take action to get the taxpayer money back.

“Based on what I have seen and read, I think the city stands on solid ground and Buckeye should return those funds to the city of Toledo,” said Councilmember Rob Ludeman.

Council on Tuesday agreed to spend up to $75 thousand to hire an outside legal firm to represent the city in the lawsuit, citing a possible conflict of interest concerns with the city’s law director.

“I think there are enough questions floating around that we need to make sure there’s no potential for a conflict,” said councilmember Nick Komives. “We don’t know if Mr. Emch is going to have to be a witness in this case. I think it would be appropriate for us to hire outside counsel and make sure that the outside counsel is going to push as hard as they can for the city.”

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