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By Staff | Jan 17, 2009

Blue Earth attorney Joe Bromeland spent a portion of Friday working on an eviction case as his clients were on Interstate 90 heading home to Hot Springs, S.D.

Then, around 3:30 p.m., the attorney received a telephone call and was told to go to the Faribault County courthouse.

Paul Amundson of Blue Earth was dropping his civil suit against Hot Springs Citizens for Progress.

The hearing took a matter of minutes and only the attorneys were present.

That paved the way for the non-profit group to evict Amundson from property on Main Street they had purchased from him.

Bromeland says he was surprised by the quick turn of events in the case.

“I don’t know why he wasted a lot of time and money if this is what he planned on doing,” he says.

Amundson’s attorney Daniel Lundquist of Blue Earth did not return a phone call from the Register.

Even though he had transferred title to the three buildings, Amundson in his suit claimed Citizens for Progress was allowing him to remain on the premises indefinitely.

Robert Johnson says his organization doesn’t hold any animosity toward Amundson and is glad the ‘minor setback’ has been resolved.

“We’ll go ahead with the same positive attitude we had when we started this project,” says Johnson. “We’re still committed to the community, going forward and hoping for the best.” The Faribault County Sheriff’s Office is expected to execute the eviction notice.

Since purchasing the property Johnson has learned that some of the items being stored in the buildings belong to local residents.

Johnson says he’s in the process of hiring a local realtor to manage the properties.

Signs posted on windows of the buildings instruct people how they can reclaim their items.

They may also contact the group by visiting their website — www.hscforprogress@yahoo.com

“We don’t want to sell or dispose of anything that doesn’t belong to us. The items will be safe and aren’t going anywhere,” says Johnson.

At a court hearing on Jan. 8, Judge Douglas Richards directed attorneys for both sides to submit written briefs regarding the eviction case and oral arguments were also scheduled.

The judge was going to decide whether ownership of the buildings needed to be determined before eviction could take place.

Amundson’s civil suit was dismissed “without prejudice,” meaning it was in its early stages and had not been heard by the judge yet.

Johnson says Amundson could re-file his suit, but the potential of legal problems isn’t going to hinder their efforts.

“As a businessowner you can face threats of lawsuits and challenges at any time,” he says. “I’m confident we would win if he brings up the lawsuit again.”

Johnson has said in the past Citizens for Progress plans to determine if the buildings have historical value and explore sources of funding to renovate them.

Johnson says his non-profit charity will work with city officials to determine what the downtown’s needs are and how the buildings can best benefit the community.