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Home / Verdicts & Settlements / City owes twice as much to real estate company for six acres

City owes twice as much to real estate company for six acres

The City of Brentwood owes nearly $1.5 million more for its acquisition of six acres through eminent domain after a St. Louis County jury verdict in favor of a real estate company.

In April 2019, an initial commissioner’s award granted $1,045,440 in damages to TMD Properties for the land, where the city is planning a $95 million project to install trails and parks in order to reduce flooding in the area.

The city and its experts claimed that the property was undesirable due to issues with access, a floodplain and the location of an underground sewer line.

Jerry Carmody, an attorney for TMD, said the city’s initial offer for the property was $170,000. By trial, the city offered $280,000. Both offers were based on appraisal by Ed Diman.

Laura Bentele, an Armstrong Teasdale attorney who represented the city, did not return an email requesting comment. Dick Shepherd testified for the city that the cost to develop the land would outweigh financial return and at best, could have been an outdoor shed. Carmody claimed on behalf of TMD that medical offices could have been built on the property.

The jury featured two lawyers and debated for 45 minutes before the foreperson, a lawyer and the president of Keller Williams Realty Company, delivered a unanimous verdict.

“She obviously had not just a depth of experience in the legal side but also on the real estate side,” Carmody said.

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$2.3 million verdict

Real estate

Breakdown: $1,045,440 for 2019 commissioner’s award; $1,254,560 in additional award from verdict; $231,388 in interest since commissioner’s award

Venue: St. Louis County Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: 19SL-CC01814/May 13, 2022

Judge: Judge Ellen H. Ribaudo

Plaintiffs’ Experts: Dick Shepherd (development); Ed Diman (property appraisal)

Defendants’ Experts: Dan Devereux, St. Louis (Desirability of land and difficulty); Vince Bajardi, Sansone Group, St. Louis (development); Bill Grodinger, St. Louis (property appraisal)

Last Pretrial Offer: $170,000

Caption: City of Brentwood v. TMD Property I LLC and Mark R. Devore as Collector of Revenue of St. Louis County

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Laura Bentele, Matthew Joseph Reh and Harry Marks Murray IV, Armstrong Teasdale, St. Louis

Defendant’s Attorneys: Jerry Carmody and Lindsey Leible Combs, Carmody MacDonald, St. Louis