Montgomery Land Owners Sue Hyundai, Industrial Development Agencies - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

June 23, 2004

Montgomery Land Owners Sue Hyundai, Industrial Development Agencies

It is creating thousands of new jobs and revitalizing an entire part of town, but there is a down side to the new Hyundai plant, according to some investors. They are suing the car manufacturer claiming they were ripped off.

The suit names Hyundai and several industrial development agencies, which helped purchase the land in south Montgomery. The two groups of plaintiffs sold their land so the new plant could be built. Now, they are claiming they should have been paid more for it.

The property owners say they each got no more than $4,500 per acre. Then, they say, when Hyundai needed another piece of property several months later, it paid more than $12,000 dollars per acre, violating an agreement which stated all parties would be paid the same amount.

Kenny Mendelsohn is an attorney for land owners. He says, "Our clients and our companion clients had this agreement that we would enter into this deal to sell our land with the understanding that if any other landowner got more money for selling their land, we would get the same price they did. And that just didn't happen."

Tyrone Means is an attorney for Montgomery County. He says he's worried the lawsuit will discourage other companies from locating in Alabama.

"Industrial development is a chore and a challenge in itself," Means says. "And it becomes sad because the consequence of it is, when you look at all the good things that have happened with Hyundai, this will be a black mark on it and we don't know how other industry will look at it."

The two groups of property owners consist of some well-known names in Montgomery, like Probate Judge Reese Mckinney, Edwin Auerbach, and James Barganier. In addition to Hyundai, defendants include Montgomery County, the city of Montgomery, and the chamber of commerce. 

The defendants maintain they did nothing wrong. They say their next move is to file a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed.

Reporter: Mark Bullock

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