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The battle over the Main Street Plaza that's been simmering for weeks is about to boil over.
Mayor Rocky Anderson says he has a solution he'll unveil Friday. But will it be the bridge that brings both sides together?
While the mayor has announced a news conference for tomorrow, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints is sticking to its original position and has hired a prominent trial attorney to prove its point. The church has told us tonight it is reviewing what the mayor will propose, but at the same time, it has hired Alan Sullivan to prove that the original contract spells out what should happen next.
Mr. Sullivan says the church gave the city restricted easement, limited to pedestrian passage only. KSL has obtained a letter he sent to the city's attorney, Ed Rutan, respectfully disagreeing with the mayor's conclusion on a portion of the contract called a severability clause. The letter says:
"... we disagree with the conclusion that the severability clause.... from the City to the Church transformed what was, by agreement, a limited easement... to an unlimited easement..." and later, "we believe little would be gained by initiating another lawsuit now. We disagree with the conclusion that the severability clause from the city to the church transformed what was, by agreement, a limited easement to an unlimited easement."
Later, it says:
"We believe little would be gained by initiating another lawsuit now."
"It was never the intention of the city or never the intention of the church to permit unlimited access, and you can't read a severability clause to change the intent of the parties," Sullivan says.
"I have been called names. I have been told I should be put in prison because of an impuned opinion that someone thought I might have. That is not what our community is about," says Eric Jergensen of the Salt Lake City Council.
Jergensen called a public meeting in his district of the city tonight. Several hundred people attended. He told them how frustrated and disappointed he is that the goodwill that was here during the Olympics seems to have gone because of this issue.
It's not clear what the mayor is proposing or how it will affect the severability clause, but what is clear tonight is that both sides remain entrenched in their positions. They disagree over one clause -- 52 words.