Statement of the Old Wayne County Building Limited Partnership in Response to Media Reports of a Possible Lawsuit by Wayne County

Jun 09, 2010, 17:36 ET from Old Wayne County Building Limited Partnership

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A statement issued by Carl Herstein, attorney for The Old Wayne County Building Limited Partnership, on behalf of the Partnership:

The Old Wayne County Building Limited Partnership, which saved and restored the beautiful and historic Old Wayne County Building in downtown Detroit, is surprised and deeply disappointed to be learning from the news media that the County intends to bring a suit against it.  The Partnership has been engaged in regular discussions with the County about the Building, which has been the historic home of the County. The Partnership has made a series of good faith offers to retain the County as the Building's tenant.  We had hoped for a constructive response--we did not expect a lawsuit.

Because the Partnership only knows what it has learned from the press about the issues that the County intends to raise, at this point, we are limited in our response. We do know that most of the issues that have been mentioned by the news media were addressed years ago with the County—more than 5 - years past or longer. Those issues were either resolved at the time or the Partnership repeatedly demonstrated that they were without merit. The passage of years makes claims that were wrong when first made even less credible today.

The only new issues relate to the ongoing occupancy of the Building by the County and its subtenant. As recently as last month, the County's computer servers were still operating from the Old Wayne County Building.   Both the subtenant and the servers require that the building be supplied with security, electricity, heating and cooling, which the Partnership has continued to provide with no payment from the County. We do not believe that a surprise lawsuit is an efficient or sensible way to address any issues surrounding these matters.

The County approved every bill paid by the Partnership that was passed on to the County. The County Auditor General exhaustively audited the Partnership's expense records in 2003.  In 2007, to put to rest any lingering concerns that the County had with respect to past unfair claims of overcharges, excessive profits, or improper conduct, the Partnership opened its books, including its tax returns, to the County. The Partnership has always operated in good faith with the County and done everything it can to demonstrate that fact. We are sorry that the County does not appear to be responding in kind.

It is particularly disappointing that the Partnership may be facing a suit from the County at a time when the County seems intent on abandoning what has been called the most historic building in the State except for the Capital. The transaction that the Partnership entered into with the County was always intended to end with the County reacquiring the Building and owning it.  The Partnership has viewed itself as the temporary custodian of the magnificent Building that it saved from the wrecking ball. Now it is faced with the challenge of finding a new use and tenant for a Building that was specifically built 108 years ago to be the County's home. That is a difficult enough task without this suit, which will sap the Partnership's  energy and resources, when both are needed to keep this treasure from becoming another vacant, derelict structure that will be seized upon by the outside world as a symbol of decline.  

We hope that the County will reconsider the wisdom of choosing destructive litigation over constructive cooperation.

Thank you.

SOURCE Old Wayne County Building Limited Partnership