This opinion will be unpublished and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.,
Andover Economic Development Authority
Patrick J. Kelly, Sarah J. Sonsalla, Kelly & Fawcett, P.A., 2350 Piper Jaffray Plaza, 444 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for relator)
Barry 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
The land on which relator Charles Mistelske’s business was located was condemned, and relator sought relocation benefits under Minnesota Uniform Relocation Act (MURA), Minn. Stat. §§ 117.50-.56 (2002). Following this court’s remand of the matter to respondent Andover Economic Development Authority (Authority), the supreme court remanded the matter for this court to clarify whether the remand to the Authority included relator’s claim for relocation costs. We conclude that it does and remand.
D E C I S I O N
Under MURA, a condemning authority must pay to displaced small business owners all costs as required by the federal relocation act. In re Relocation Benefits of James Bros. Furniture, Inc., 642 N.W.2d 91, 96 (Minn. App. 2002). See also Minn. Stat. § 117.52 (2002). Unless the 18-month period from the final payment for the condemned land is extended for good cause, MURA allowed relator until October 2, 2000, to seek benefits. 49 C.F.R. § 24.207(d) (ii) (2003).
Here, no final settlement agreement was signed by relator as requested by the Authority, no final payment of benefits was made to relator, and in December 1998, the Authority sent relator a letter stating it was retaining $59,000 it owed relator because of the lack of an agreement and asking relator for a complete benefits claim. Later, the Authority admitted owing relator more than $59,000. After additional exchanges between relator and the Authority, the Authority, in February 1999, approved relator’s claim for $559,700 in benefits. Relator’s claim for these amounts stated that a claim for establishment benefits was “[t]o be filed later.” When relator claimed additional benefits in January 2002, a hearing officer refused to extend the 18-month claims period for good cause and ruled the claim untimely. This court reversed, stating:
Because (1) relator had not yet received final payment on his approved benefits claim; (2) [the Authority] 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 [the Authority] for appropriate consideration of relator’s claim for reestablishment costs.
Mistelske v. Andover, No. A03-1325, 2004 WL 1152788, at *2 (Minn. App. May 25, 2004) (emphasis added), remanded No. A03-1325 (Minn. Aug. 17, 2004).
The rationale for reversing the refusal to extend the 18-month period included the fact that relator had yet to receive final payment of his relocation-benefits claim and that the Authority was on notice that additional claims would be filed. Thus, the rationale anticipates that multiple additional claims may be filed and is broad enough to include relocation benefits in addition to reestablishment costs. Also, the Authority’s January 28, 2002 letter to its relocation consultant stating that the city had “finally” received a “demand” for relocation benefits from relator indicates that the Authority knew that the claims it had received to that point were incomplete and that the issue of relocation benefits was unresolved. Moreover, because the Authority retained $75,700 of relator’s relocation benefits and because 49 C.F.R. § 24.304 limits reestablishment benefits to $10,000, the retention of more than that amount indicates that the Authority expected relator to claim more than $10,000 in additional benefits.
Finally, the record indicates that because of relator’s alleged difficulties in finding a new location for his business, he moved his business property into storage. The Authority was aware that relator stored business property because it approved the storage costs. Therefore, the Authority knew or should have known that when the business was restarted at a new location, the property would be moved out of storage, generating additional costs.
In conclusion, on remand of this matter to the Authority: (1) questions of timeliness shall not preclude relator from claiming any category of benefit allowed by MURA including relocation costs; and (2) in all other respects, the Authority may apply MURA in determining the appropriateness of relator’s claims.