Kenton developer wants bid suit moved
Corporex claims pretrial publicity

Sunday, May 10, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON -- The lawsuit to decide who's at fault in the bidding process for the Kenton County courthouse and parking garage may be heard elsewhere in the state.

"It'll be impossible to find a jury (in Northern Kentucky) that hasn't already reached some conclusions about this matter," said Mark Hayden, attorney for developer Bill Butler's Corporex Cos., which will ask for the case to be tried outside the region. The county is suing the company and Mr. Butler to recoup an $850,000 settlement paid to two losing bidders -- Wessels Construction and Development Corp. and

Carroll Properties -- in courthouse and garage construction projects. Wessels and Carroll claimed Corporex had an upper hand in winning the $35.6 million contracts. The county accuses Mr. Butler of manipulating the process in his company's favor.

Corporex denies any wrongdoing.

Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson said changes in locations are rare in civil trials.

"He won't get it," Mr. Edmondson said.

He called the complaints about pretrial publicity remarkable because Mr. Butler called a news conference at his downtown Covington skyscraper shortly after the settlement and then took out full-page advertisements in local newspapers.

"He's the one who drummed it all up," Mr. Edmondson said.

The case won't go to trial for weeks and likely months, lawyers said.

Mr. Hayden and Mr. Edmondson said that Campbell Circuit Judge Leonard Kopowski, the special judge who has decided motions in the case so far, may not preside over the trial because of its expected length. If he doesn't, another special judge will have to be appointed. The case is a Kenton Circuit Court lawsuit, but all of its judges removed themselves.

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