Developer sues Pima County over road

2013-10-13T00:00:00Z 2013-10-13T17:00:55Z Developer sues Pima County over roadBy Darren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A landowner has filed a lawsuit against the county charging civil-rights violations and breach of contract.

Michael Farley, manager of Valencia Kolb Properties, alleges Pima County cost him and his investment group millions when it pulled out of a deal to reroute Valencia Road near Kolb Road.

Farley said the move was retaliation over his political activity during the 2012 election, when he campaigned against incumbent county supervisors.

The lawsuit contends that the county’s vindictive actions violated Farley’s right to free speech and to petition.

Farley owns 115 acres at Valencia and Kolb, and has been trying to get the intersection moved south of its current location for years.

The county contends the price tag to move the intersection is at least $8 million more than it would cost to upgrade it within the current alignment. But Farley said he believes those are just excuses the county uses to conceal its ulterior motives.

While the lawsuit didn’t cite a specific amount, Farley sought an $11 million settlement in a claim he filed against the county last March.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court of Arizona last Wednesday.

Farley could not be reached for comment, and his attorney would not comment on the case.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry didn’t have any comment on the lawsuit when he was contacted Friday.

But in previous interviews he said he considered Farley’s actions to be gambits to coerce taxpayers into paying to move Valencia Road, which currently bisects his property.

Huckelberry has denied the county dropped the project in October 2012 in an act of retribution.

He has said the county turned the project over to the Regional Transportation Authority because it wanted to avoid any conflict-of-interest allegations.

Huckelberry said the county has treated Farley no differently than any other developer.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com. Follow on Twitter @DarrenDaRonco

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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