The City of Warren is looking to sue over a failed downtown project.
At a special meeting late Monday afternoon, five members of City Council unanimously authorized the appointment of special counsel "to proceed with litigation involving the anchor building project."
Mayor Mark Phillips and Councilman Dr. Howard Ferguson were not present for the meeting.
Following an executive session for the purpose of discussing litigation regarding the downtown anchor building project, the vote was held with no discussion. City Solicitor Andrea Stapleford clarified that the city would be the suing party. Who the city plans to sue was not disclosed.
Stapleford said no court documents had been filed at the time of Monday's meeting.
City officials did not name the attorney who will represent the city in the action. The motion authorized the city manager or acting city manager to "move forward with the arrangements."
The anchor building project was intended to upgrade the former Roberti and Natale buildings at 225, 227, and 229 Liberty Street to create a home for the Allegheny Center for the Arts.
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development awarded a $500,000 anchor building grant to the project in 2009.
GRO-Warren wrote the grant proposal and the city acted as a facilitator.
The grant dollars were to be repaid to the city through rent at the center and subsequently used as revolving loan funds for other economic development projects in the city.
When the funds were gone, the project unfinished, and the contractor holding a mechanic's lien on the building, DCED looked into the situation. Citing "significant ambiguities," the agency launched a fiscal monitoring review.
The results of that review have been released to the city, but not the public.