The City of Boiling Spring Lakes has spent $406,498 this fiscal year as the result of two lawsuits.
The amount is reported in the city manager’s report for May.
In the section titled “FY 2019 Budget Highlights/Changes,” City Manager Jeff Repp wrote the following about governing body/legal services: “With the recent settlement agreements with the Thompson lawsuit and the Brunswick County Superior Court decision regarding the Wilkie case, the $406,498 was budgeted in this line item to settle and pay court-ordered judgment.”
The settlement agreement with Christopher and Karen Thompson regarding flooded property was for $70,000 and was closed in July 2018. It was undisclosed how the money was disbursed.
The court-ordered judgment in the Wilkie case, also regarding flooded property, was for $336,498, Repp stated in an email.
“This was a self-inflicted wound,” Ed Wilkie said about the city having to expend so much money.
Ed and Debra Wilkie’s well-publicized, years-long case over inverse condemnation — “I had $1,500 damages to my property,” Ed Wilkie said — was eventually litigated to the Supreme Court of North Carolina on Nov. 8, 2017.
On March 2, 2018, the court ruled in the Wilkies’ favor. As was stated in the decision, “We recognize the fundamental right to just compensation as so grounded in natural law and justice that it is part of the fundamental law of this State, and imposes upon a governmental agency taking private property for public use a correlative duty to make just compensation to the owner of the property taken.”
The case was remanded to lower courts for further proceedings before reaching conclusion this year.
“It took 11 months to get this ruling back from the Court of Appeals,” Ed Wilkie said, “and they ruled that my attorney was entitled to his attorney fees. We went back to court in Brunswick County and the judge ruled in my attorney’s favor.”
Ed Wilkie said the lawsuit was avoidable and that he sued 11 months after the initial incident in 2013.
“(The city) made a check out to my attorney, and my attorney got his attorney fees,” Ed Wilkie said. “And the only thing I’m going to get out of it — the only thing — is exactly what I paid my attorney. If somebody thinks I’m walking around here with half a million dollars in my pocket, they’re crazy. With interest on my $1,500, I got a check from the clerk of Superior Court for $2,024.”