Judge says lawsuit by City of Mason City against building owner may move forward

MASON CITY — A lawsuit filed by the City of Mason City against a building owner who the city says continues to pose a public safety risk is moving forward.

The city filed the lawsuit against Highway 18 LLC, whose principal is Vance Jorgenson, saying that a broken parapet on the Letts, Spencer, Smith Company Building on the corner of US Highway 65 and State Highway 122 has gone unrepaired since late June. Traffic has been reduced to a single lane adjacent to the building on each highway.

The city had filed a municipal infraction in late October, stating it was forced to close the sidewalk and lanes of road at a cost of $39,985, with an additional $1500 a week cost since that time since repairs have not been done to the structure.

Besides stating in his order issued Friday that the lawsuit could move forward, Judge Kurt WIlke also denied Highway 18 LLC’s request that the court not allow the city to charge it the $39,985 since the protections to the road and sidewalk the city installed did not abate the nuisance and therefore should not be allowed. Wilke stated that the city under state law has the discretion of enacting and enforcing regulations for public health and safety.

A trial scheduling conference on the matter is set for next Tuesday in Cerro Gordo County District Court.