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Trial date set in Griggs County Courthouse dispute, Judge orders one last attempt at mediation

COOPERSTOWN -- A jury trial has been scheduled for December in a civil suit between Griggs County and the Griggs County Building Authority over the financial responsibility of an unfinished $3.5 million courthouse construction project.

COOPERSTOWN -- A jury trial has been scheduled for December in a civil suit between Griggs County and the Griggs County Building Authority over the financial responsibility of an unfinished $3.5 million courthouse construction project.

Southeast District Judge Jerod Tufte set the trial for Dec. 12 through Dec. 21, with a pretrial conference Nov. 29.

The scheduling order, signed Thursday, also requires attorneys for both parties to confer in an attempt to agree upon a mediator and to "make at least one good-faith attempt at mediating this matter."

If they are unable to agree on a mediator, the court would appoint one, Griggs County Clerk of Court Kelly Vincent said. If mediation fails to produce a settlement, the case will go to trial.

The two groups are locked in a dispute over which one is responsible for failure to complete construction of the $2.2 million courthouse portion of a $3.5 million building project, which remains unfinished.

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Griggs County filed a civil suit in September claiming breach of contract, alleging the Building Authority has "failed and refused to complete the courthouse facility."

The county is seeking a judgment of nearly $300,000, the amount it had paid to the Building Authority in lease payments since 2013, plus additional legal costs.

The Building Authority filed a countersuit, disputing it had sole responsibility for failure of the project, contending the county failed in certain obligations to bring the courthouse project to completion and that the county wrongfully interfered with the Building Authority's efforts to complete the project.

Earlier this month, Tufte denied a motion from Griggs County to terminate its lease with the Building Authority for the unfinished courthouse.

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