By Gary Lloyd
RRP, LLC and Trussville resident George Glenn have filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County Circuit Court over the process of filling the former Food World on Main Street.
In a lawsuit filed Oct. 9, the Trussville City Council and Downtown Redevelopment Authority members are named as defendants. The lawsuit states that those bodies “acted in violation of applicable law in regards to the subject property.” The lawsuit states the individuals or administrative bodies may have acted “arbitrarily, capriciously, negligently or carelessly in the development of or approval for the subject property.”
City Clerk Lynn Porter said papers were served shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday.
Trussville Mayor Gene Melton said Thursday morning the city council and redevelopment authority did all it was supposed to do and nothing was done illegally.
Scott Barnett, the Downtown Redevelopment Authority’s attorney, said Thursday morning that he hasn’t yet met with the authority about the lawsuit. He did guess that the authority would “likely defend itself vigorously.”
The court filing lists RRP, LLC as owning a business at 322 Main St. in Trussville. That is the address for Anytime Fitness.
Anytime Fitness owner Rick Plourde, Glenn and the lawyer listed on the court filing, Donald Brockway, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Thursday.
Glenn said at an August city council meeting that there was “so much illegal in this.” Councilman Brian Plant responded to Glenn at the meeting, saying he had “every confidence in the world” in the city’s and authority’s attorneys.
At that meeting, the city council approved incentives and leases for Fresh Value Marketplace and 24e Fitness to occupy the former Food World.
As part of the approval, the city will spend $912,000 to divide the former Food World into two spaces. The city council also approved abating a portion of the sales tax as an incentive for the grocery store, which amounts to $800,000 over a four-year period. The rent for 24e Fitness will not begin until August 1, but the business will receive no tax abatement.
The move was met with criticism from some Trussville residents, notably other fitness center owners. Plourde said at that meeting that he had a letter from his attorney, saying he reviewed the legality of the leases.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff demands a trial by a struck jury.
The city of Trussville had spent about $22,000 per month for rent on the building since leasing it in October 2011. The city spent $250,000 to end a 15-year lease with America’s Thrift Store, which had planned to open a store there. The building has been vacant since Food World closed in 2010.
We will update this story as more information becomes available.
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.