Trip to Chicago for Lost Rabbit cancelled
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 12:00 PM
Madison County officials had to cancel a trip to Chicago last week to meet with Allstate regarding the troubled Lost Rabbit development because of bad weather conditions, Board Attorney Mike Espy said on Monday.
Espy, along with Supervisors Karl Banks and John Bell Crosby, County Administrator Mark Houston, Comptroller Shelton Vance, was expected to meet with Allstate executives on Jan. 3.
A new date has not been scheduled, but supervisors did approve travel for the same individuals thru February.
This is the second trip to Chicago that has been cancelled since mid-December.
Officials charged $3,557.32 for airfare and lodging on the county credit card for the first scheduled trip on Dec. 17. It is unknown what the costs of the most recent cancelled trip were as credit card reports have not been released.
County officials are expected to make a proposal to Allstate based upon a restructuring study of the 260-acre development at the end of Hoy Road conducted by Steve Rogers of Rogers and Associates. The county contracted with Rogers on Sept. 16 during executive session at a rate of $25,000.
Attempts to obtain a copy of the detailed report has been unsuccessful.
Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler continues to explore legal options after a public records request for the report was denied by the county.
"Even though Lost Rabbit is not in the city of Madison, it's still part of the city of Madison," Hawkins-Butler said during a city meeting in December. "Access is thru the city of Madison. Whatever happens in that area will impact the city of Madison and I think it will be in our advantage to know what the county is proposing for Lost Rabbit."
After the public records request was denied, Espy told the Journal the report was produced as attorney work product and therefore was not a public record.
"The single purpose of the study is to foster settlement of the Lost Rabbit lawsuits," Espy said at the time. "If all goes well, meaning if Allstate approves the approach we suggest, Madison County soon will be revealing details of the Lost Rabbit settlement project and I will personally brief all local media."
Madison County is a named defendant in a lawsuit, along with bondholder Allstate and Butler Snow, regarding Lost Rabbit.