City responds to judge's ruling on Family Dollar property

South Bend, Ind. - Today the City of South Bend responded to Judge's ruling that its business deal with a local private high school was unconstitutional.

Early this week, U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr., ruled that the City of South Bend violated the separation of church and state when it proposed to give a piece of land, which it bought for 1.2 million dollars, to the St. Joseph High School for just one dollar.

City officials say they were disappointed when the judge's ruling came down late Wednesday afternoon.

"The procedure requires us to get appraisals of the property, two appraisals, then take the average of those appraisals to negotiate and then sell the property," says City Attorney Chuck Leone.

The city attorney says this is a lawful and fair way to still move forward with the project and he says he hopes the judge agrees.

"We want to make sure that what we are doing is consistent with the injunction Judge Miller has issued. Therefore, we are going to file a motion with the district court to specifically ask for Judge Miller's approval."

The city attorney says he's filing a motion to seek Judge Miller's approval so it doesn't appear as though the city is trying to get around the ruling. In the meantime, the option of appealing the decision is still on the table.

"Whether we will appeal it or not that is something we can decide down the road. We have a window, a 30 day window, so we are going to wait.

City leaders say they are going to be watching the outcome of this case very closely as they believe it will set the precedent for the city in future cases.

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