This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Charles E. Mistelske,
Andover Economic Development Authority, et al.,
Affirmed in part, Reversed in part, and Remanded
Andover Economic Development Authority
Patrick J. Kelly, Sarah J. Sonsalla, Kelly & Fawcett, P.A., 2350 US Bancorp Piper Jaffray Plaza, 444 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for relator)
Barry A. Sullivan, William G. Hawkins & Associates, 2140 Fourth Avenue North, Anoka, MN 55303 (for respondents)
Considered and decided by Minge, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Kalitowski, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Relator Charles Mistelske challenges the decision of respondent Andover Economic Development Authority to deny his request for additional relocation and reestablishment benefits on the ground that the request was untimely. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.
D E C I S I O N
When reviewing agency decisions, this court determines whether the agency acted within its jurisdiction and then decides whether the decision of the agency was arbitrary, oppressive, unreasonable, fraudulent, under an erroneous theory of law, or without evidence to support it. In re Application for Relocation Benefits of James Bros. Furniture, Inc., 642 N.W.2d 91, 100 (Minn. App. 2002).
Relator first argues that respondent’s decision finding his claim untimely was arbitrary, oppressive, unreasonable, fraudulent, legally erroneous, or unsupported by the evidence. The Minnesota Uniform Relocation Act (MURA) makes public funds available to reimburse relocation costs incurred by households and businesses displaced by public acquisitions of property where there is no federal financial participation. Minn. Stat. § 117.52 (2002). Under MURA, the acquiring authority must “provide all relocation assistance, services, payments and benefits required by the [federal] Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 . . . and those regulations adopted pursuant thereto.” Id.
The federal Act states that all claims for a relocation payment must be filed within 18 months after the date of displacement or the date of the final payment for the acquisition of the real property, whichever is later. 49 C.F.R. § 24.207(d). But, importantly, the Act provides that the time period shall be waived for good cause. Id. Here, the date of final payment for the acquisition of the land was April 2, 1999, and this occurred after the date of displacement. Therefore, absent good cause, relator was required to file a claim for relocation benefits by October 2, 2000.
The record indicates that relator filed a timely partial claim for relocation benefits in February of 1999. And relator argues that his February 1999 claim expressly reserved for him the right to file an additional claim for reestablishment costs. We agree. In relator’s February 1999 relocation claim, the summary of expenses states that relator’s reestablishment costs are “to be filed later.” Respondent approved this claim in the amount of $559,700. While this claim did not state when relator would submit his additional claim, it did put respondent on notice that all claims had not yet been filed. Moreover, respondent only disbursed $484,000 of the approved amount, and withheld the remaining $75,700.
The record indicates that several assets of relator’s business were placed into storage while he searched for a suitable location for his business and that on January 24, 2002, relator submitted a supplemental claim seeking the additional amounts he claimed he was entitled to for reestablishment costs.
While the MURA and the federal Act are silent on the issue of whether an individual may reserve the right to submit a claim after the expiration of the 18-month time requirement, both laws provide that the statutory period shall be waived for good cause. Here, relator placed respondent on notice that reestablishment costs had not yet been determined and he would be making this claim at a later date. And although respondent generally informed relator that deadlines existed for filing claims, respondent never informed relator when the deadline expired or contacted relator between February 1999 and January 2002. And importantly, respondent never made final payment on relator’s February 1999 relocation claim. Thus, relator was awaiting further payment from respondent and had reason to believe that he had the right to file an additional claim when the amount of reestablishment expenses were determined.
Because (1) relator had not yet received final payment on his approved benefits claim; (2) respondent was on notice that additional claims would be filed; and (3) it is not disputed that relator had not previously requested payment for his reestablishment costs, we conclude that the agency erred by failing to waive the deadline for relator to submit his final claim for good cause. We therefore reverse the dismissal of relator’s claim and remand this matter to respondent for appropriate consideration of relator’s claim for reestablishment costs.
In the alternative to his “good cause” argument, relator contends that the agency erred in finding that an April 1998 letter submitted by relator was not a sufficient claim for reestablishment costs, but was merely a proposal for real estate and relocation claims that lacked the documentation required by 49 C.F.R. § 24.207(a). We disagree.
The record indicates that neither party treated the 1998 letter as a benefits claim. And in a letter dated December 31, 1998, respondent urged relator to complete a relocation-benefits claim. Moreover, less than two months after receiving this letter, relator filed the February 1999 partial benefits claim that was eventually accepted by respondent. In addition, (1) relator referred to the contents of the 1998 letter as a proposal; (2) the 1998 letter does not provide the level of detail with respect to individual cost items contained in his 1999 claim; and (3) the letter includes amounts sought for the land, buildings, and immovable fixtures, but does not include a subtotal of the amount sought for its relocation claim. Therefore, we affirm this part of respondent’s decision because relator has failed to show it was arbitrary, oppressive, unreasonable, fraudulent, legally erroneous, or unsupported by the evidence.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.