The city of Storm Lake is pursuing legal action in hopes of recovering thousands of dollars in legal fees from a extended legal battle with the Kolb Trust over moving a memorial garden - but not their own legal costs - but their opponent's.
"We are asking for the legal fees that were paid by the trust to be reimbursed. The citizens of Storm Lake are the real benefitiaries of that trust," explained City Administrator Patti Moore.
Motions were filed as a continuation of the earlier court case, she said, and have not yet been decided.
The Kolb Gardens and fountain were established years ago to honor a young member of the Kolb family who had died in a tragic accident, and replanted each year in the Sunrise Park area - directly in the path of the new multi-million-dollar King's Pointe Resort development.
The city offered to move the gardens, but the sole surviving Kolb trustee, Norman Kolb of Storm Lake, opposed the plan to move the gardens, claiming it violated the intent of the original contract between the city and the trust, and eventually sued the city to gain control of farmland from which revenue has fueled the garden project over the years. He claimed the trust had a good-faith agreement with the city for the site.
The city destroyed the gardens and fountain to begin its development, and counter-sued over the Kolb suit. Eventually, after Norman Kolb's death, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled to reverse a District Court decision that favored Kolb, determining that the city could move the gardens and that the longstanding agreement need not stand in the way of progress.
City officials are not sure of the amount of legal fees paid by their opposition,but say that they should have been paid by NormanKolb personally and not withdrawn from the trust funds, which are intended to support the continuation of the gardens, they say.
The city now plans to replant the gardens next season, on either side of the entrance to the Great Lawn project on the opposite side of the King's Pointe resort from where they originally were placed.
The city also plans to build a new fountain as part of the memorial area, and place the memorial plaque salvaged from the original site.
"We need to get the plan put together soon for the fountain, so that it can be considered for approval by the trustees," Moore said.
With no members so the Kolb family trustees surviving, officials of Security Bank have been appointed to serve as trustrees.
Any funds the city recovers from the legal action over legal expenses woud be returned to the trust fund for use in maintaining the gardens in the future, city officials indicate. The exact amount involved is not known at this time.