Rails to Trails files complaint against Albany, requesting millions in damages

Rails to Trails files complaint against Albany, requesting millions in damages
(Source: WALB)

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - South Georgia Rails to Trails, Inc. (SGRT) has filed a complaint against the City of Albany and is requesting more than $7 million dollars in reimbursement.

In a document filed Wednesday, SGRT claims that the city has defaulted on its agreement with the nonprofit organization after failing to formally approve a trail design and the trail not being built by May 14 of this year.

“The City has defaulted under the terms of the agreement by failing to build the trail. The City’s refusal to consider or formally approve a trail design or surface violated the duty of good faith and fair dealing under the agreement that Georgia law requires of every party to a contract,” the complaint states.

Furthermore, SGRT claims the city failed to “perform its duties under the agreement” referring to the construction of the trail within the “inactive railroad corridor that runs between Albany and Sasser,” but did, however, construct utility lines on that property.

“For the proprietary purpose of increasing its utility enterprise fund revenues and expanding service to customers, many of whom are located outside of the City of Albany and Dougherty County,” the claim reads.

The claim also accuses the Albany City Commission of violating the Georgia Open Records Act.

“To the best of SGRT’s knowledge and belief, the decision not to comply with the agreement was never placed on a meeting agenda of the city commission nor discussed in a public meeting. SGRT can only assume that such decision was made in secret, in violation of the Georgia Open Records Act. There has been no formal, written notice to SGRT of the City’s position regarding the agreement and its unilateral action to ignore its terms,” according to the claim.

In response, SGRT is demanding a trial by jury and the following compensation:

  1. For compensatory and consequential damages in the amount of $7 million or such other amount as may be determined by a jury and the court, together with prejudgment interest as allowed by law.
  2. For an order and judgment of specific performance directing that the City construct the trail in accordance with the agreement.
  3. For reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 13-6-11.
  4. For costs of this action.
  5. For such other and further relief as the court may deem proper.

Below is a copy of the complaint. It has been redacted to protect the personal information of those named in the document.

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