Lawsuit threat moves board to act

Village President unhappy that the wheels of government are turning slowly in land dispute
Ozaukee Press Staff

After Village President Don Dohrwardt threatened legal action against the Fredonia Village Board for its inaction, trustees last week voted to direct the village attorney to investigate the title history of land that Dohrwardt until recently thought he owned and which the village wants to assess for $22,000.

“I was hoping the board would have come to some kind of decision at the last meeting,” Dohrwardt told trustees July 19. “The snow could be flying before I have access to my money to use it for my purposes.

“If the board doesn’t do its due diligence, I may be forced to bring an action against the board. All this time my money is tied up. I’m paying interest on that money,” Dohrwardt said.

The village assessed Dorhwardt $22,000 after a development went in behind his property on South Milwaukee Street in 2005 and Stoney Creek Lane opened it up to the possibility of being subdivided.

However, when Dohrwardt went to sell the property recently, a mystery deed popped up showing that his property was separated from Stoney Creek Lane by a 6.7-foot strip, making it so Dohrwardt has no access to the newer street and therefore does not benefit from it.

Since his property doesn’t appear to benefit from the street, he doesn’t believe he should pay the assessment.

The Village Board met on July 5 and received information on the matter from the village attorney and staff. It voted to defer any action until Aug. 2 and didn’t direct village staff to collect additional information on the matter. It was not on the agenda for the July 19 board meeting, other than as a request by Dohrwardt to address the board.

“I thought the board was especially incompetent when it deferred action,” Dohrwardt told trustees. “I’d like you to pick up the pace.”

Trustees countered that some of them had done their own research since July 5 by talking to friends who are real estate attorneys and others.

“It’s not like we’ve done nothing,” Trustee Richard Abegglen said.

Dohrwardt said he had provided them the inforamtion he received from the title search done during his sale, which went through with the understanding the new owner would not pay the $22,000 assessment.

“The information was delivered to you at the last meeting but you decided not to act and so you blew two weeks,” Dohrwardt countered. “We’d have lost a month’s time” before the next meeting on Aug. 2. 

“The village is getting close to putting its neck on the line.”

“You’re speaking from passion and it’s insulting,” Trustee TJ Meyers-Jansky said. “We’re trying to do our due diligence and you’re being argumentative.”

Trustee Bill McLarty moved that the board direct the village attorney or his representative to do a title search on the property at a cost to not exceed $1,500.

His motion passed unanimously.

After the meeting, Dohrwardt indicated he would relent with his threat to take legal action.

“I’m pretty satisfied the board is trying to move forward. I basically was trying to get them off square one.”



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login