Target, Topeka, Shawnee County May Settle Lawsuit

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A lawsuit the Target Corporation filed against Shawnee County, the city of Topeka and the economic development group Go! Topeka may be nearing an out-of-court settlement.

A 13 news examination of documents filed in U.S. District Court in Wichita indicates the case could be settled by December.

The Target Corporation filed the civil lawsuit in federal court back in April. It says Topeka, Shawnee County and Go! Topeka went back on a 10-year property tax abatement agreement made in 2002 when Target chose Topeka over Wichita and Olathe as the site for a new distribution center.

The county says it did away with the 10-year property tax break because Target did not maintain an employment level of 600 workers, as agreed to when it was approved. Target argued the agreement called for a financial penalty if the company fell below agreed upon employment level, not taking away the exemption.

In its lawsuit, Target indicated it paid $3.6 million in taxes for 2006 and 2007, pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

Court documents indicate a status conference is set for December 11, when attorneys may finalize a tentative settlement agreement. That potential settlement is up for discussion in Thursday’s Shawnee County commission meeting.