April 20, 2014

Elyria
Intermittent clouds
55°F
test

Judge rules for Lorain Port Authority in dispute with county agency

ELYRIA — A county judge has ordered the Lorain County Port Authority to pay the Lorain Port Authority $12,500 per year from money the county entity receives to administer a $70 million bond given to U.S. Steel three years ago to fund an expansion at the company’s Lorain mill.

The two port authorities have been locked in a dispute over whether the city Port Authority is entitled to a 50 percent cut of the $25,000 in administrative fees paid to the county Port Authority each year.

The Lorain Port Authority argued in court that it is entitled to half the yearly fee under the terms of a 2005 agreement, designed to allow the two entities to operate in each other’s territory. The county Port Authority contends that because the city Port Authority doesn’t do any of the work, it isn’t entitled to any of the money.

The county organization also has said that the U.S. Steel bond isn’t the type of bond that is subject to the agreement.

However, Lorain County Common Pleas Judge John Miraldi concluded that the bond was subject to the agreement.

His order means that the county Port Authority will now have to pay three years worth of back fees, or $37,500, to the city organization and to pay the fees in the future.

But Lorain County Administrator Jim Cordes, who chairs the county’s Port Authority Board, said his organization won’t be sending a check to the Lorain Port Authority anytime soon because Miraldi’s decision will be appealed.

He said the city Port Authority was “overreaching.”

“It’s far from over,” Cordes said.

Mike Brosky, the Lorain Port Authority’s attorney, said he hopes there will be future collaborations between the two groups.

“It’s what’s best for the county,” he said.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.