MOORESVILLE, Ind. -
The Indiana American Water Company has filed a lawsuit against the town of Mooresville and all five of its town council members over allegations that they violated due process and Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act.
According to the lawsuit, the town posted a notice for an Aug. 7 public meeting, but did not release details to the public and the water company.
On Aug. 10, the Town Council voted unanimously to move forward with taking over water service from Indiana American Water Company.
"The Defective Notice did not indicate when and where the meeting would take place," read the complaint filed by Indiana American Water on Oct. 4.
According to Indiana statute, municipal councils considering the acquisition of a utility should give companies providing similar utilities 10 days' notice of the time and place where the hearing will be held.
The lawsuit also alleges the town of Mooresville violated Indiana's Access to Public Records Act by not providing requested copies of the ordinance, agenda, meeting minutes and studies.
"The town did not produce any documents prior to that hearing," read the lawsuit, which also alleged the council never read aloud at the public hearing.
"It's a hostile government takeover of a business," said Alan DeBoy, president of Indiana American Water Company, in an interview with RTV6.
The lawsuit also alleges the town unlawfully attempted to search the company’s property and records.
"The Mooresville town council has rejected our repeated requests to meet with them and have instead demanded they be allowed to show up at our Mooresville facility to rifle through our private business records and files," the company said in a statement. "Accordingly, we have concluded we are at an impasse and these issues will now have to be decided through the legal system."
"It is unfortunate that Indiana-American has chosen to file what appears to be a frivolous and untimely Complaint," wrote Christopher Janak, town council attorney, in an email to RTV6. "By filing its lawsuit, Indiana-American seeks to scare Town officials and the community and divert attention away from the fact that its rates for Mooresville residential and industrial customers have increased, and will continue to increase, at an alarming rate."