Litchfield Buys Back Land Sold To Compass Ventures

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The city of Litchfield reacquired a piece of property in the Route 66 Industrial Park during the city council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 4, but not at the price the owner was hoping for.

Compass Ventures had purchased Lots 12 and 13 in Industrial Park in 2014 for the purpose of developing a medicinal cannabis cultivation center as part of the state's medicinal cannabis pilot program. The company then found a suitable building and requested the city repurchase the property.

At the time the city looked at repurchasing the property, a lien showed on the title, placed on the property by Thomas Built Buses, Inc. on the previous landowner, and the city was unable to repurchase the property. Under the contract with Compass Ventures, the city could only repurchase the property providing that title insurance and proof of a good title were received.

Bill Bailey, speaking on behalf of Compass Ventures, told the city council that his company had spent a great deal of money in clearing the title and asked for $4,227 in attorney's fees to be reimbursed from the city.

Bailey also said he assumed that that the city knew about the lien on the title when they originally sold the property to Compass Ventures. City Attorney Kit Hantla said that was not the case. Hantla said that the property had been deeded back to the city and since the lien was applied to the previous owner, not the city, there was no way for them to know.

Bailey said that his company had also been paying property taxes for the property, even though he believed they should have been abated. Bailey added that his company would like consideration in refunding part of those property taxes as well.

Mayor Steve Dougherty said that the city had lodged several complaints with Compass Ventures regarding lack of response from the company's attorney.

Bailey said that might have been the case but since the process of repurchasing the property had began in January 2017, his focus had been on this current project.

Mayor Dougherty gave the council the opportunity to make any amendments to the motion to approve the repurchase of the property, which none of the council members acted on. The aldermen approved the repurchase agreement for the original agreed upon amount of $90,200 in the contract with Compass Ventures.

That motion was one of nine done before the council went into a brief closed session at 6:45 p.m. and the only motion that drew significant discussion.

The other motions were to accept the minutes from the Sept. 20 meeting, to transfer funds and pay bills, to purchase six sets of Innotex Energy Bunker Gear from Mac's Fire and Safety for $12,798, to enter into advertising contracts with Terrain Magazine for a quarter page ad for $2,470 and the 2019 IllinoiSouth Visitors Guide for a quarter page ad for $935, to approve a bid of $199,269.50 from Kinney Contractors for reconstruction of West St. John Street, to accept a proposal for contract administration for the reconstruction of West St. John Street for $10,300 from Martin Engineering and to authorize Plocher Construction to purchase needed material to finish installing a new chopper/mixing pump at the Litchfield wastewater treatment plant for $10,244.64.

The only business after the closed session was the approval of executive session minutes from July 2018 to September 2018. The council will meet again on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at Corwin Hall.

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