Lisa Goodman and Minneapolis wronged Brad Hoyt, Appeals Court finds

Brad Hoyt gained a small victory this week in his acrimonious development brawl with the Minneapolis City Council. Well, sort of.

As we documented in our 2009 cover story, Hoyt sued Minneapolis Councilwoman Lisa Goodman in 2007, arguing that she unfairly led the City Council to reject his dream for a 21-story condo tower in Loring Park.

Tuesday, three Appeals Court judges agreed that Goodman was unfair to Hoyt, and ordered the council to give him a re-do. But on all the legal issues, the City--and Goodman--actually won the case.

Here's where the Appellate Court decision agrees with Hoyt:

"But because the hearing before the city council was unfair, rendering the city's decision arbitrary and capricious under state law, we reverse and remand for a new hearing."

Though the decision ostensibly gives Hoyt what he wanted--a fair hearing--the ruling comes at a high cost to the developer's moneybags, because it actually lets the city off the hook financially.

The Appeals judges agreed with the lower court that Hoyt should not get the $11 million in damages he wanted. In an expensive reversal, the court also stripped him of the approximately $523,000 in legal costs and development fees that now-retired Judge Stephen Aldrich awarded Hoyt in the original case. Finally, the higher court reversed Aldrich's conclusion that the city violated Hoyt's due-process rights.

Now Hoyt is back to square one: He gets to try to convince the council to let him build his building one more time.

City Attorney Susan Segal says Hoyt had that right all along.

We suspect that this time around, Goodman and her colleagues will be a lot more careful.

Previous coverage:
* [Cover Story]: Lisa Goodman wants it her way
*Minneapolis, Goodman, lose development suit
*Judge says City must pay developer Brad Hoyt $500,000
*City responds to development ruling

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