Bowling Green City lawsuit against Mills Family Realty dismissed

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit Wednesday that the City of Bowling Green filed against Mills Family Realty back in September.

The suit was filed regarding the WRAP Project, formerly known as Hitcents Park Plaza.

The suit named Mills Family Realty, Inc., MR Group, Inc., Chris Mills, Clinton Mills, Ed Mills, and Richard Kelley as defendants, and claims they wrongfully diverted and illegally used bonds funds - which were approved and guaranteed by the city of Bowling Green in connection with the WRAP Project - to establish and operate their own private businesses.

The project began plans back in July 2007 consisting of the development of commercial space around a downtown parking structure. Taxpayer dollars were invested into the wrap project as part of the revenue sharing agreement which allows TIF revenues dedicated to the project to be used for debt services.

A 2015 audit came to the conclusion that many of the issues surrounding the project, including a $4.5 million deficit in the project funded by taxpayer money, were due to confusing contracts and lack of oversight.

The ruling stated that the city "has failed to provide much detail as to what its actual damages were or how they arose" and that "it argues that it suffered an “'investment injury' when the defendants invested their ill-gotten funds into their own businesses, but they provide no detail as to what this injury was."

The attorney representing the Mills family said Wednesday his clients were happy to hear the court's decision.

"We thought strongly all along that none of these claims had any merit," said Brad Keeton, "and that there was just no reason for the city to bring them on, so the Mills are certainly excited that the court agreed with us and it's certainly their hope that everybody could put this dispute behind them and move one."

Read the full ruling by clicking on the attachment in this story.

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