Watertown reaches financial settlement with former Council member

The City of Watertown reached a settlement with former City Council member Rick Mann and his wife Laurie on pending litigation regarding the construction of the County Road 20 roundabout near their home several years ago.

The settlement includes a total payment of $30,000 to the Manns. According to a statement from Mayor Charlotte Johnson that she read during the Dec. 10 City Council meeting, $7,500 of that total will come from the city, while the remainder will be paid by Carver County, Bolton and Menk (the city and county’s engineer) and the League of Minnesota Insurance Trust.

The lawsuit first came to light in December 2011, when the city council met in closed session with its legal counsel. The issue has been discussed in closed session numerous times over the past two years.

Mann told the Carver County News in 2012, when he was running for Mayor, that the issue was related to a disagreement over how much damage was caused to his property during construction of the roundabout at the intersection of County Highways 10 and 20.

Mann’s home is on the west side of that roundabout, and part of his yard and driveway were altered to make room for the new roundabout. According to Mann, the county’s appraisal valued damage to his property at less than $2,000, but the Manns’ independent appraiser said damages were more than 10 times that amount.

The settlement results in the dismissal of the case against the city.

“The settlement avoids the risk and expense associated with litigation and the potential for greater liability, potentially including an award of attorney’s fees against the city,” Johnson said in a statement during last week’s City Council Meeting.