Opponents of Recreation Center Proposal Sue Ogden

Opponents of Recreation Center Proposal Sue Ogden

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Members of a group opposed to a proposed $19.5 million bond issue for the development of a high-adventure recreation center in downtown Ogden have sued the city in federal court.

The group, Citizens & Businesses Concerned for Ogden's Future, organized a petition drive calling for a referendum vote on the recreation center. The petition needed 20 percent of registered voters' signatures to succeed, but the petitions were not turned in before the May 16 deadline.

The complaint, filed May 25 in the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, maintains the required number of signatures was artificially high because of inflated registration numbers, including duplicate registrations and the names of deceased individuals.

The plaintiffs seek a halt to the project pending completion of the litigation, further time to complete a petition, legal costs and a monetary judgment of $20,000.

One of the plaintiffs, Mitch Moyes, who spoke at a news conference Tuesday, declined to say why they were seeking $20,000.

The plaintiffs, who also included Sharon Beech and Rulon Yorgason, alleged they were deprived of their constitutional rights.

Their lawsuit alleges some of their petitions were stolen, and that lease agreements and bond documents relating to the project were intentionally withheld until after the deadline for the petition.

Mayor Matthew Godfrey declined to comment on the complaint.

City Council Chairman Rick Safsten said in a prepared statement that opponents to the recreation center project have not offered a viable alternative for developing the downtown mall site.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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