All’s quiet on Fowler Lake (for now)
City has yet to respond to action filed last week

By Eric Oliver - Enterprise Staff

Jan. 15, 2015

OCONOMOWOC — After the filing of a court document last week asking to review the processes of the Common Council related to Fowler Lake Village, the current proceedings are at a standstill.

James Hammes, the attorney for plaintiffs Fowler Lake LLC and Rockwell Development LLC, said the city has to take the next step and respond to the court document. Depending on the response, the case could go to an arbitration hearing where an arbitrator will review all evidence and hear additional arguments if needed and then make a ruling.

If the arbitration rules in favor of Fowler Lake Village, the matter will be sent back to the Common Council to determine the proper funding for the condominiums according to the request for judicial review.

As of press time Jeff Seymour, the developer, did not respond to requests for comment.

Mayor Jim Daley said the city anticipated litigation on the matter. He said the city really has no role to play other than to respond to the action.

“We are going to move forward and work towards a resolution on it,” Daley said. “We think the process is there so that equality exists for all parties and this involves the city’s rights to vote and make choice for our future.”

Hammes said that at the Dec. 2 meeting the council didn’t discuss the financing of the project as was the directive at the time, instead they dwelled on issues such as the number of units or whether or not there would be a restaurant in the building.

Hammes said that their next move could be to file for damages if the court finds the review in favor of the city and that he is expected to file paperwork on that matter in the next few days.

Alderman Matt Rosek said he did review the complaint but it was too early to respond as the city had not yet met on the issue.

S. Richard Heymann, adjunct professor of law at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and an expert on business law, speculated the plaintiff might be going to the court in an attempt to influence the Common Council to reconsider its position.

Heymann is not related to the case in any way and is speaking on the hypotheticals of the situation.

The current development and legal proceedings share similarities to 2013, when Pabst Farms Development succeeded in getting a Kwik Trip constructed.

Pabst Farms was possibly seeking some $20 million in damages after the Common Council denied its development request. The developers later withdrew the claim after the Common Council approved the Kwik Trip.