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Chill-Can developer asks for dismissal of city's counterclaim

In April, the city of Youngstown started to take legal action against the Chill-Can developer after it failed to meet benchmarks set to be completed in 2017. A lawsuit was filed against the city by the Chill-Can developer in May. 
Chill Can A 04012021
(Photo by Robert K. Yosay)

YOUNGSTOWN — Chill-Can developer M.J. Joseph Development Corp. on Wednesday filed a response to the city of Youngstown’s counterclaim, denying allegations and asking for a dismissal of the case.

The city of Youngstown’s counterclaim stated that M.J. Joseph Development Corp. was unable to honor commitments by falling behind schedule and failing to meet benchmarks to finish construction of buildings and to hire full-time employees. 

In April, the city started to take legal action against the Chill-Can developer after it failed to meet benchmarks set by the city to be completed in 2017. A lawsuit was filed against the city by the Chill-Can developer in May. 

The city of Youngstown filed a counterclaim against M.J. Joseph Development Corp. in June for breach of contract, declaratory judgment and permanent injunction.

The counterclaim included the timeline and failed development of the Chill-Can plant that were supposed to be completed by October 2017. 

In 2016, the city agreed to bring in M.J. Joseph Development Corp. to create the Chill-Can manufacturing plant on the East Side of Youngstown. The development in the plan also included creating a General Neighborhood Renewal Plan for the area where the plant was being developed. 

The city and M.J. Joseph Development Corp. entered into a development agreement, which included plans to redevelop the area and financial commitments and timelines that had to be completed by October 2017. 

The city claimed the developer was not going to be able to honor the agreement after being unable to obtain a performance bond of $1 million or obtain funds for escrow of $250,000. To accommodate, the city agreed to amend the development agreement. 

The city has expended $1.5 million in grant funds to help the project and has obtained title to various real estate lots of the project. Other costs incurred by the city include planning and development work, demolition and abatement costs, acquisition and relocation costs and other expenses. 

The breach of contract in the counterclaim states that M.J. Joseph Development Corp. failed to complete the construction of the warehouse building and bottling facility by October 2017 as well as the third building by September 2017. The company also failed to increase employment by December 2020. 

In response to the counterclaim, the M.J. Joseph Development Corp. denied allegations for failing to meet the timeline and the alleged breach of contract. 

Under alleged declaratory judgment from the counterclaim, the city stated that the Chill-Can developer admits to failed milestones on the contracts and that the city may declare all secured collateral immediately due and payable.

The city also claimed that the Chill-Can developer failed to meet its contracts. The city believes the company should dispose of its assets to protect the city until full damages are recovered by the city for the breaches in the contracts.

M.J. Joseph Development Corp. answered the counterclaim by denying the allegations from the city of Youngstown and requesting the counterclaim from the city be dismissed with prejudice. 

Ellen Wagner

About the Author: Ellen Wagner

Ellen Wagner reports on municipal services and budget cuts in Youngstown. She is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.
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