The Gluckstadt incorporation effort will continue as scheduled with a trial set for February 2019 after a judge denied a petition by the main opposition, Mac Haik, last week for mediation. 

In late-October, Haik filed a motion asking Madison County Chancellor James Walker to order incorporators to work through their differences in mediation.

“There are numerous ways that these actions could be reasonably settled and avoid the tremendous expense that will surely be incurred by the parties, including attorney fees, expert witness fees, and other trial expenses…,” the motion reads. 

Haik’s motion also said any decision regarding the incorporation would “likely” be appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court. 

In addition to the motion for mediation, Haik also filed a motion to compel for discovery to answer a number of questions. The motion also sought sanctions against the incorporators for failing to do so in a timely manner. 

Walker denied the motion for sanctions and ordered all parties to adhere to the current schedule, which required supplemental/rebuttal expert designations items to be submitted by this Friday.

Some of the questions asked by Haik include Gluckstadt’s plans for water lines, sewage lines, street lighting, etc. Incorporators initially answered that there is no governing board at this time because there is no legal city status to make such decisions at this time. 

“While a city has numerous options as to the services it will provide, such a determination as to the manner and extent of those services is not possible at this time,” incorporators responded. 

Haik responded in the same vein to multiple questions that incorporators were being “evasive and incomplete.”

Last week, Haik took the witness stand and said he did not have advance knowledge of an incorporation effort and that he wanted to move to mediation to find the best outcome for Madison County taxpayers. 

John Scanlon, an attorney representing the incorporators, said they have tried to work with Haik just short of mediation but to no avail. 

“We’ve taken a crack at resolving it,” Scanlon said. “The only resolution that will give Mac Haik any satisfaction is to be left out of both Canton and the City of Gluckstadt. That’s not something we can agree to.”

Jim Herring, the attorney representing Haik, said he had no comment about the hearings last week.

The trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 4 and the courtroom is booked for the entire month for the hearings. The incorporation effort has been consolidated with an annexation attempt by the City of Canton, wherein only one of six proposed annexation areas overlaps. That area in question contains the two automobile dealerships owned and operated by Haik.