Saturday, December 29, 2007

US Rep Todd Platts Named in Eminent Domain Lawsuit

Lauxmont owners file lawsuit

They claim a wide-spread conspiracy, which they said caused their mother's death.


Daily Record/Sunday News


Article Last Updated: 12/24/2007

Dec. 25 - The owners of Lauxmont Farms in Lower Windsor Township filed a lawsuit against York County Monday, claiming that the county commissioners' efforts to take their land by eminent domain for a park caused them financial problems.

But the lawsuit goes beyond that, alleging the existence of a wide-ranging conspiracy by public officials in York County.

According to the allegations, the members of the conspiracy wanted to get the Kohrs' land for considerably less-than-market value, motivated in part by personal dislike, and conducted a prolonged harassment campaign against the family that eventually drove their mother to suicide.

"They're out millions of dollars," the Kohrs' lawyer, John Snyder, said in a phone interview. "They have lost a mother in this process, which they believe, and I concur with them, was a result of this process. They've lost time and opportunity and buyers, and they've had their civil rights trampled on."

County Commissioner Doug Kilgore said he'd want to see the lawsuit before he could comment on the specific allegations, but he's not surprised they filed one.

"It's more legal antics to delay paying taxes," Kilgore said.

Former owners Ron Kohr Sr. and Laura Kohr, both now deceased, declared bankruptcy in 1989. Millions of dollars in debt remained unpaid, including hundreds of thousands in taxes.

The lawsuit cites York County and the county board of commissioners as defendants. It states that the Kohrs are seeking damages but doesn't give a specific amount.

It mentions everyone from Lower Windsor Township municipal officials to U.S. Rep. Todd Platts, R-York County, as playing a role in the plot to get the land. The lawsuit states that Platts attempted to contact the IRS on behalf of the alleged plotters, in an effort to get the IRS to force the land's sale.

Platts could not be reached for comment.

In listing complaints against the alleged conspirators, the lawsuit contains the following statement about Laura Kohr, matriarch of the family: ". . . Laura became increasingly distraught about the constant attack on her, her home and her family and finally committed suicide on May 20, 2005."

County coroner Barry Bloss has ruled that heart failure, not suicide, caused Laura Kohr's death.

Bloss declined to comment on the allegations in the lawsuit on Monday. But he previously dismissed a flier that an eminent domain opponent had been distributing that claimed Laura Kohr committed suicide, even stating that he might contact a lawyer about it.

Snyder declined to be more specific about the circumstances of the alleged suicide. He would only say that she did it in a "nonviolent" manner that wouldn't be inconsistent with heart failure.

Members of the Kohr family could not be reached for comment.

County commissioner Lori Mitrick said she was not surprised by the lawsuit, but she was surprised that it included the entire board of commissioners, including fellow Republican Commissioner Steve Chronister. He voted against taking the Kohrs' land and has befriended the family over the last couple of years.

Chronister could not be reached for comment.

Chris Reilly, one of the candidates who defeated Mitrick and Kilgore in November, will take a seat on the board of commissioners in January.

He said he hopes the new commissioners and the Kohr family can reach some kind of agreement.

"It just underscores what a debacle this has been," Reilly said.

Reach Tom Joyce at 771-2089 or



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