Deadline nears for Lac du Flambeau in two lawsuits
Town has until Sept. 18 to respond to lawsuits filed in road issue
The town of Lac du Flambeau has a few more days to submit responses to two lawsuits brought against the town related to the ongoing easement expiration issue on tribal land between the town and the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
The easement expirations in question are on tribal land on Annie Sunn Lane, Center Sugarbush Lane, East Ross Allen Lake Lane and Elsie Lake Lane.
The lawsuits, with Bob Beer and his wife Nicole named as plaintiffs on one and Mike Hornbostel the plaintiff on the other, were filed on their behalf in Vilas County Court by Wausau attorney Shane Vanderwaal.
He said what the Beers and Hornbostel are seeking in the lawsuits would be “damages caused by the town.”
“That’s the bottom line,” Vanderwaal said. “It’s a suit for monetary damages.”
He said from what he’s discovered, the road situation in Lac du Flambeau “has been an issue for awhile.”
“Especially since Jan. 31,” Vanderwaal said, a reference to the date the tribal council had the four roads barricaded because of the decade-old expiration of easements on those roads. “The town has the duty with respect to the access of peoples’ property. That’s our position. People have had access. Now, the question is whether that access will even remain.”
As of Tuesday, Sept. 12, the town of Lac du Flambeau still hadn’t heard from the tribal council regarding the next meeting between the town board and the tribal council on the road issue.
The two governing bodies haven’t met since earlier this summer and didn’t meet at all during the month of August.
Vanderwaal said once he’s reviewed the responses to the lawsuit filings from the town, he’ll request the court set scheduling conferences “and get these matters proceeding.”
“I can tell you every person I’ve spoken to who lives there wants a permanent solution,” he said. “Like they thought they had when they bought their properties.”
Lac du Flambeau town attorney Greg Harrold said the town has until Monday, Sept. 18, to submit its lawsuit responses to Vilas County court.
Brian Jopek may be reached via email at [email protected].