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Judge dismisses part of Charlestown lawsuit tied to redevelopment plans

March 21, 2019

A federal judge has dismissed a portion of a lawsuit brought by landlords that alleged racketeering by a southern Indiana city related to a planned redevelopment project.

The News and Tribune reports U.S. District Court Senior Judge Sarah Evans Barker last week issued an order dismissing some of the allegations against Charlestown, Mayor Bob Hall and several other city employees or elected officials by landlords owning multiple properties in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood.

The landlords sued last year, alleging city leaders and a private developer conspired to extort the owners out of their properties by imposing new property maintenance codes, not enforcing the codes consistently and forcing them to sell below market prices.

Other claims remain, including alleged violations of the equal protection clause. The city says the lawsuit is unsubstantiated.

Prior to filing the federal racketeering suit, the landlords also sued the city in state court for allegedly illegal code enforcement. A special judge issued an injunction against the city’s “irrational” code enforcement scheme, but the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the injunction last September.

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