Federal judge sides with tribe in real estate dispute
Determining who has rights to a particular piece of property can be difficult, but it is important. While Minnesota residents may think it is easy to determine who owns a piece of land, it is often more complicated than that. Many people can have certain rights to a piece of property outside of its owner. There can be contractual rights — like a tenant might have — or an easement, lien or other interest. Real estate litigation is not uncommon when one or more parties feel like their rights to a particular property are being violated. The city of Duluth, Minnesota brought a lawsuit against the Fond du Lac Band over property rights recently. According to reports, the city was concerned about the tribe’s attempts to place a hotel into trust. The tribe purchased the hotel located on city property in 2010. The hotel itself is adjacent to the tribe’s casino — which is on the tribe’s reservation. By moving the hotel into trust, the Fond du Lac Band would be able to use the hotel and its property to expand the casino. Additionally, by moving the property into trust, the hotel would officially become “Indian Country” and Duluth would no longer be able to collect property taxes or exert control over the property. In its federal case, the city claimed that the tribe broke contractual obligations by trying to move the property into trust without permission from the city. The tribe, on the other hand, argued that the plain language of the agreement did not require the city’s consent. A federal judge agreed with the tribe, saying that consent was not required. The city had 30 days to appeal the ruling. When property rights are being challenged, real estate litigation might be necessary to determine whose rights have priority. Property owners in this situation should make sure to understand their rights and how to enforce them.
Source: KBJR, “Federal case dismissed: Duluth vs. Tribe, both sides speak out,” Dec. 23, 2014
Image Source: Duluth Chamber