Couple seeks $1.5 million in busted cell tower deal

Ann Knef Nov. 26, 2007, 6:59am

Fairview Heights property owners Janice and Thomas Petroff, Jr. are seeking in excess of $1.5 million over a busted land-lease deal with Verizon Wireless.

According to a suit filed Nov. 16 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, the Petroffs claim Fairview Heights, without lawful justification, denied a permit to construct and operate a cellular tower on land they own on Crest Drive.

Represented by Thomas G. Maag of Wendler Law in Edwardsville, the Petroffs are suing the city, Dolan Realty Advisors of Clayton, Mo. and Cellco Partnership (doing business as Verizon Wireless).

They claim that the city's failure to issue appropriate permits caused Verizon to fail to lease the property and caused Verizon to build its tower "in another extremely nearby location in another contiguous adjoining municipality."

"As a direct and proximate cause of the foregoing deliberate and intentional acts, Verizon no longer needed to least (sic) the Petroff property, and thus, failed to do so, as previously agreed and intended...," the complaint states.

The suit claims the city is aware of the law concerning cell tower locations. In the case of Nextel West Corp. v. City of Fairview Heights, the city entered into a consent order reversing its denial of a permit to construct a cell tower, the suit claims.

The Petroffs seek relief from Dolan, a real estate broker, in an alternative basis.

"...Dolan did not use reasonable care, in accordance with all applicable rules, regulations and procedures, of the City, to seek the appropriate permit and/or permission for the construction of the cellular tower at issue...," the complaint states.

According to the complaint, Dolan failed to provide requested information to the city's Planning Committee and/or the City Council.

The Petroffs claim Verizon failed to use reasonable care in the selection of Dolan, and failed to use reasonable care in the supervision of Dolan, "in that Verizon failed to in any meaningful way monitor Dolan's presentations to the City."

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