old barn remains on the Pauline Haass Farm near the
corner of Lake Five and Hickory roads that is owned by
the Town of Lisbon. The town is seeking proposals from
real estate agents and brokers interested in selling the
property for the town.
Kelly Smith/Special to The
OF LISBON — The 65-acre Pauline Haass Farm, which was
the centerpiece in a nearly four-year legal battle that
cost taxpayers more than $600,000, may be for sale.
Town Board decided Monday night to seek Requests for
Proposal (RFPs) from area real estate agents and brokers
who might be interested in listing the property for
officials are hoping the RFPs might provide a hint about
the land's real estate development value and whether it
is a good time to put the land on the market, according
to Town Chairman Joe Osterman.
market value of the land was a hotly contested issue
during more than four years of out-of-court negotiations
between the town, village of Sussex and Pauline Haass
2015 appraisal pegged the value of the farm land at
$650,000 or about $10,000 per acre.
However, Sussex officials believed the land's real
estate development value might be as high as $1 million.
Located on the southwest corner of the intersection of
Lake Five and Hickory roads, the farm is about a mile
south of the border of Waukesha and Washington counties.
is on the northern fringes of the ongoing real estate
boom in Lake Country.
There is a high-end residential development south of the
farm and large-lot rural residential neighborhoods north
and east of the land.
late Pauline Haass, a schoolteacher and farmer’s wife
who believed in the need for a local library, bequeathed
the land and more than $250,000 in cash to the town in
1985 to be used for “library purposes.”
March of 2017, the town agreed to turn the farm over to
the library board and then buy it back for $175,000 in a
complex out-of-court settlement.
part of the settlement, Sussex agreed to purchase for
$175,000 from the library board the existing library
building and land on Main Street in the village.
Village Board’s purchase ended a dispute over who owned
the Main Street land.
According to county records, the deed to the land was in
the name of the Pauline Haass Joint Municipal Library
Board, which was dissolved in December of 2014 after the
town terminated the joint municipal library agreement
with the village.
$350,000 in new revenues from the town and village, the
library board agreed to drop its legal actions against
the town seeking custody and control of the farm as well
as the other assets in the Haass estate.
library board filed the lawsuit in 2013 after former
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke warned the Town Board might
terminate the joint library funding agreement between
the town and village.
Gehrke insisted that the town’s share of library cost be
reduced because town residents used the library less
than village residents and the village gained an
advantage by having the library in downtown Sussex.
Library Board Director Kathy Klager and Attorney David
Haase explained to the library board they had a
fiduciary responsibility to protect the land and other
assets of the estate because, according to state law,
the library was supposed to have custody and control of
any assets donated for library purposes.
Library Board President Robert Williams, a former town
supervisor, voted against the lawsuit, warning his
fellow library board members the legal action would cost
taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
of January of 2017, according to public documents, the
taxpayers of Lisbon and Sussex paid out about $252,000
in legal fees to lawyers for the library board, the town
and the village.
total does not include legal fees for finalizing the
out-of-court agreement or the $350,000 the town and
village agreed to pay to the library board as part of
the settlement agreement.