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April 1, 2013

Clark County loses Dreyer appeal

Former county attorney considering options in 2009 eminent domain case

(Continued)

JEFFERSONVILLE —

The county has taken loans and placed the judgment in escrow, and is prepared to pay the judgment to Dreyer’s family, as she has since died. Fifer said asking the supreme court to look at the case or having the court of appeals reconsider are both options. 

“I don’t have unilateral authority to decide what to do,” Fifer said. “I’ve given it to the [Clark County] Commissioners and [County Attorney] Jake [Elder], but my inclination is we will either probably ask the court of appeals to reconsider or the supreme court to consider taking it up on what’s called transfer.”

Elder declined to comment on the case, as Fifer is more familiar with the details. 

The decision of the appeals court didn’t surprise Commissioners President Jack Coffman, who is skeptical that the county can win the case at this point.  

“I don’t think taking it further is going to accomplish anything,” Coffman said. “In my personal opinion, I don’t know how much longer we can drag this out.”

Coffman didn’t rule out allowing Fifer to pursue another appeal.

“He might do that just so no one can say, ‘Hey, you should have done that,’” Coffman said. 

Airport officials have stated at previous meetings that the Federal Aviation Administration will likely reimburse the air board for the judgment through grants. A grant of $166,000 to be used for the judgment was given to the air board late last year. 

Former air board attorney Jack Vissing is being sued by Fifer and attorney Steve Voelker on behalf of the air board for judicial malpractice in the handling of the eminent domain action. Fifer said that case is on hold until the appeals of the Dreyer judgment are exhausted.

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