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Meeting gives few clues on Hillview's plan on jury verdict

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By Thomas Barr

      HILLVIEW - About a dozen residents wanted to find out more about the fate of their city.

     And they came to find out how the city planned to pay the $11.4 million judgment rendered earlier in the month in a Bullitt County civil lawsuit filed by Truck America Training.

     But after sitting through a one-hour executive session Tuesday night, residents found out little.

     The Hillview City Council took no action following the closed door meeting to discuss pending litigation.

     The city has 30 days from the Aug. 24 final judgment by Circuit Judge Rodney Burress to appeal the jury's recommendation.

     Mayor Jim Eadens would only say that he met with the council to fill them in on what occurred during the four-day trial.

     Following the decision, city attorney Mark Edison said there would be an appeal of the verdict.

     Eadens said he expected an appeal would follow. The next council meeting is set for Sept. 20 but a special meeting could be called earlier, if needed.

     The mayor said residents should not be concerned about the city's future. Services will continue and the council would continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of the community.

     He added the litigation has lasted 10 years and it wouldn't be solved overnight.

     Under the judgment issued by Burress, interest on the damages begins immediately.

     In the dispute, the city of Hillview purchased 40 acres off Ferguson Lane. A softball complex leased the land but never made payments and eventually was sued by the city.

     Continuing to make loan payments of over $70,000 to the Kentucky League of Cities, a lease-purchase agreement was reached between Hillview and Truck America Training. The company paid $3,500 a month for use of the 40 acres until the Homeplate Enterprises litigation was settled. Payments would come off the $800,000 purchase price.

     When the city refused to sell the property after litigation ended, Truck America filed suit in 2004.

     Burress had previously ruled the city breached its contract. Last month, the jury panel awarded Truck America damages of over $11.4 million for several items, including loss of profits from fewer students at the truck training and heavy equipment schools, as well as losses suffered when the purchased heavy equipment had to be sold.