Jasper Biomass Case to Return to Court in January

The legal battle between members of Healthy Dubois County and the City of Jasper and its Utility Service Board on the biomass issue will return to court in January of next year. This trial will take place in Jasper.

Last week, a hearing to determine how the case will be managed for the lawsuit filed against the City of Jasper by Dr. Norma Kreilein, Rock Emmert and Healthy Dubois County Inc was held.

Special Judge Sherry B. Gregg Gilmore will preside over the second hearing, which deals with allegations that meetings between the City of Jasper and Twisted Oak (now Jasper Clean Energy) CEO Jay Catasien during contract negotiations were held in private when they should have been public.

The original lawsuit was filed in August of 2011. In January of last year, Special Judge Lucy Goffinet issued a ruling in favor of the City of Jasper, but a three judge panel with the Indiana State Appeals Court later granted the appeal that was filed against Goffinet’s decision based on factors which included openly questioning the volunteer group meetings that proved to be essential to working out details on the contract.

The appellate court’s ruling allowed for HTC to depose members of the volunteer group that reportedly met 12 to 15 times during contract negotiations with Catasein.

HTC has made in the neighborhood of 400 requests for discovery since the ruling by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Last October, the City of Jasper approved a resolution that relieved Catasein of the obligation to make lease option payments until the current lawsuit is resolved. As a result, the city has not been able to collect on seven of these payments in the total amount of 420 thousand dollars.