City officials remain tight-lipped on the City of Toledo v. Block Communications proposed settlement

Very little discussion on City of Toledo v Block Communications proposed settlement
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 10:23 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - As the city of Toledo formally presents its proposed settlement over the lawsuit with Block Communications for the Summit Street reconstruction project, the city appears to have little to say about the matter.

While council members had their first chance to assess the matter on Tuesday, they stayed quiet.

Council members got their first chance to dig into how it all went down on Tuesday but stayed quiet.

After the meeting, several members told 13abc that they didn’t wish to discuss pending litigation, suggesting that taxpayers likely receive the deal with very minimal public discussions on the issue. It is also important to note that the proposal is a deal in which taxpayers will not receive close to what they’ve spent.

Taxpayers have spent $972,000 to move Buckeye Broadband lines during the Summit Street reconstruction for the Solheim Cup. While taxpayers paid their dues, other utilities also paid to move their lines. However, Buckeye was told by some city officials that they did not need to pay.

The communications regarding if Buckeye should or shouldn’t pay led to questioning by the FBI and a lawsuit from the city to recover the $972,000 in taxpayer dollars.

The city of Toledo and Buckeye have proposed a settlement for the suit. If approved by Toledo City Council, taxpayers only get $300,000 back.

“I’m not going to say anything. We refuse to comment until they make their vote,” said Paul Syring of the City of Toledo Law Department.

As Toledo’s law department remains tight-lipped on the settlement, council members Tuesday only asked procedural questions.

“I can’t comment at this time,” maintained Syring.

While no one is getting into the weeds on how the city spent $972,000 to be “made whole” the deal on the table is $300,000.

In 2021, the council approved $75,000 for those outside lawyers to help prepare for the federal investigation. The city has already spent $50,000.

Now as part of the lawsuit settlement, the city is requesting up to another $20,000 for those outside lawyers. If approved, a total of $170,000 in extra-legal requests will be spent leaving the city with less than its possible $300,000 settlement.

Council members are set to vote on the settlement during their meeting Tuesday. Following the vote, the proposal can be approved in court, meaning the public will not see the actual settlement until after its court approval.

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