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Marion sues Perry County over use of old National Guard Armory

On April 14th, the City of Marion filed a lawsuit against the Perry County Commission over the use of the Old National Guard Armory building in Marion. The City of Marion deeded the property to Perry County on March 6, 2013 under the condition that the building be used for recreation and civic purposes, as well as public and private events. The property changed hands under the condition that the property be used for this purpose, or else it would be returned to the City of Marion.

According to the complaint filed by the City of Marion, the Perry County Commission failed to properly take possession of the property and the City was forced to maintain it. The city continued to insure the property and pay for the utilities such as electricity, gas and water, according to the complaint. During this time, Marion used the building for storage and other purposes. The Perry County Commission purportedly did not even have keys to the building. When the building suffered damage during a storm, the complaint alleges, the City of Marion had to handle the claim and receive the check. The suit alleges that, after nine years, representatives of the Perry County Commission cut the locks and demanded possession of the building.

According to the complaint, the building was not being used by the County until a few weeks prior to the suit being filed. The city alleges that the county did not use the property, and it therefore should be returned to the City of Marion in accordance with the agreement set forth in the initial deed. The complaint also states that since the terms of agreement were violated, the City should be able to recoup all the costs of maintaining the building for the last 8 years.

On May 29th, the Perry County Commission filed a motion to dismiss the case. The claimed grounds for dismissal were that the city hadn’t presented a claim to the county before filing suit, no request for damages incurred had been sent to the county, and no claim that could grant relief had been filed. In addition, the Motion to Dismiss cited the lack of an exhibit including a legal description of the property to accompany the complaint, even though the complaint itself refers to this description.

“The county was granted the building by a previous administration and we are trying to get the building up to date for community use,” said Perry County Commission Chairman Albert Turner regarding the city’s claims. Turner said he felt the suit would ultimately be dismissed.

The Herald contacted Marion Mayor Dexter Hinton for comment on the matter, but he had not returned that request as of press time.