An ongoing legal battle between the city of Cincinnati and
Duke Energy has taken a turn.
Duke wants the city to pay for about $15 million for the
relocation of utilities during streetcar work.
FOX19 obtained a memo that was the center of some
controversy a few months ago. It was sent by Jonathan Brodhag in the
city's law department to former city manager Milton Dohoney in March 2011.
The memo was previously confidential.
In the first paragraph, the city's attorney says, "Although
the city is typically insulated from reimbursing relocation costs when it makes
improvements to its public ways, the unique nature of the streetcar project as
a governmentally owned transit system precludes the city's ability to avoid a
responsibility for such costs."
Citing an Ohio Supreme Court suit
from 1930 between the city and Cincinnati Bell for relocating utilities during
another project, the city, at that time, was held responsible for
If that holds true, the city's
streetcar project could inflate from $133 million to $148 million.
"The prior administration
told the public that we were going to win this lawsuit, and they clearly knew,
based on this legal memo, which as Supreme Court and case law behind it, that
the city's not likely to win. That means that the streetcar project's
another $15 million in the red," said Mayor John Cranley of the memo.