Cleveland: Owner of building needed for Innerbelt Bridge wins legal battle

1:04 PM, Feb 24, 2010   |    comments
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Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O'Donnell voided a sheriff's sale that would have let the state acquire the Cold Storage building faster and cheaper.

Finley and the state are far apart on what the building is worth.

Finley claims he spent milliions after the state told him years ago it did not need the building to build a new Innerbelt Bridge.

But the state later reversed itself and said it needed the building.

Finley owed back taxes and creditors, but claims it's because the state would not make him whole. The building was sold for just $66,000 at a sheriff's sale.

Finley sued to stop the sale. That's what O'Donnell's Tuesday ruling did.

Finley and the state were about $3 million apart in their view of a fair price.

Two Northeast Ohio members of Congress, Marcia Fudge and Dennis Kucinich, claimed the state was not treating Finley fairly.

Finley claims white property owners had their buildings bought with less headache and hassle. Finley is black. 

Kucinich applauded the ruling.

"The Constitution is clear. No person shall be deprived of property without due process of law," Kucinich said late Tuesday. 

The state has filed to use eminent domain in probate court.

In probate court, a judge or jury would decide what the building is worth.


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