Tammy Grubbs, Vanda Smrkovski, Heliocentrix LLC, and reVamped LLC are suing the city of Pipestone and Building and Zoning Official Doug Fortune for allegedly breaching their constitutional rights in 2020 when they condemned the Calumet Inn.
Grubbs and Vanda Smrkovski contend that the city and Fortune violated their rights to due process under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment and their Fifth Amendment rights by prohibiting them from utilising or residing at the Calumet Inn. On November 10, their complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court. Grubbs and Vanda Smrkovski are asking for more than $75,000 in damages, as well as any further relief and costs the court deems appropriate, in addition to legal fees and action-related expenses.
ReVamped, owned by Grubbs, and Heliocentrix, owned by Vanda Smrkovski, signed a deal on August 21, 2018, for the purchase of the Calumet Inn deed. But according to the complaint, Heliocentrix is still the only owner of the land.
The Calumet Inn was ordered to close until the necessary repairs were finished on March 10, 2020, by the city of Pipestone after the State Fire Marshal deemed it to be a fire hazard. Grubbs received a handwritten letter from the city that morning asking everyone to vacate the premises by five o’clock in the evening.
The correspondence mentioned an examination carried out by the State Fire Marshal on November 13, 2019, revealing nine purported infractions of the state’s fire regulations that were to be rectified by February 13. On March9,2020, a further inspection was carried out since the State Fire Marshal had not been given documentation proving the infractions had been corrected. The vanda smrkovski complaint states that more purported fire code violations were discovered during the follow-up inspection, along with the associated deadlines for correction.
The fire marshal allegedly neglected to provide Grubbs, Vanda Smrkovski, or a designated agent of reVamped or Heliocentrix with access to the fire inspection report, which contained the alleged violations found during the first inspection. The claim states that on March 6, 2020, the day he first read the fire inspection report, Grubbs provided Vanda Smrkovski a copy of it. The complaint states that the Calumet Inn’s fire safety was not mentioned in the fire inspection report.
The complaint states that condemning the Calumet Inn would have been beyond of Fortune’s purview because it was still livable. It also asserts that there was no rectification order included in the condemnation notice, which should have advised the property owners of their right to appeal and given them a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs and modifications required to bring the structure into compliance.
The case claims that the city disregarded a state statute that requires a judicial procedure to be followed in order to carry out the condemnation order and gives the individual receiving it 20 days to respond. It asserts that Grubbs and Vanda Smrkovski were denied the opportunity to contest the condemnation despite notifying the city of their intention to do so.
Regarding the complaint, Vanda Smrkovski and Grubbs served Fortune an appeal on April 28, 2020, which they had filed with the Minnesota Department of Labour and Industry’s State Appeals Board. The city removed signs on April 30, 2020, stating that Grubbs and Vanda Smrkovski had obtained building permits to “address the most pressing issues” and that the Calumet Inn was closed, according to a news release issued by City Administrator Jeff Jones on May 1, 2020.
The case states that the condemnation of the property resulted in the cancellation of the Calumet Inn’s food, liquor, and lodging licences, so cutting off the company’s revenue source. Because of this, the company was unable to pay for necessary maintenance and repairs.
Grubbs declared on May 6, 2022, that due to financial difficulties, business will be temporarily shuttered. The business has not reopened since then.
Jones said on Wednesday, Nov. 16, that the legal counsel for the city was reviewing the complaint.