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City Of Kokomo Files Lawsuit Against IDHS Over Stadium

Update — Jan. 26, 2014, 4:30 p.m.

The City of Kokomo announced Monday it is taking legal action against the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and its executive director, David Kane.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Marion County Environmental Court, seeks to allow the city to "protect its contractual rights" and continue construction on the Kokomo Municipal Stadium.

The city halted construction on the stadium in December after being told the project violated the terms of federal hazard mitigation grants.

The complaint comes after months of communication with IDHS officials, the city said in a statement.

Kokomo city officials declined to comment on the record because of the pending litigation.

But a press release from the city says it had more than 25 communications with the organization and requested a meeting with IDHS officials in July to discuss any concerns about the stadium project, which, the city says, was ignored.

“We have honored our agreement with IDHS and it is unfortunate that the City of Kokomo has to file this legal action,” Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said in the statement. “[Kokomo Municipal Stadium] is the center of nearly $40 million in investments, job creation and economic development. IDHS’s actions are big government overreach at its worst.”

An IDHS spokesman says the department has attempted to find solutions so the baseball stadium can move forward.

"The agency does not wish to halt economic development, but at the same time, the terms of the grant agreement are clear and IDHS will not risk FEMA penalizing the entire state by withholding what could be tens of millions of dollars over an extended period of time. IDHS will present its side of the case in court," IDHS spokesman John Erickson said in an emailed statement.

Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, has also filed legislation aimed at stopping construction on Kokomo’s baseball stadium. That bill passed the Indiana Senate last week.

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