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 Post subject: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:38 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2435
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
The Indiana Transportation Museum (ITM) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in Fort Wayne. The suit is seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO), preliminary injunction, and eventually a permanent injunction against the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority (HHPA), owner of the railroad ITM used to operate on.

Here's a news story:

http://thetimes24-7.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=55589

I've downloaded the Court's file from PACER, the Federal Court online docket system. I can't post it here, the PDF files are too large. If you are interested in seeing it, PM me and I can email it to you.

Observations:

1. Attorney for ITM is from Ft. Wayne and filed in Federal Court there. While the HHPA line does run into Indiana's Northern District, I thought this was an interesting choice of venue, as opposed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, located in Indianapolis.

2. ITM cites no case law in support of its complaint. It's essentially asking the Court to force HHPA to let ITM operate on the railroad, despite the fact that ITM does not own the railroad. The main cited reason, is that without operations, ITM will inevitably fail.

3. There's an old saying amongst attorneys that when you have the law on your side, you argue the law. When you have the facts on your side, you argue the facts. When you have neither, pound on the table and scream. To me, ITM has reached the "pound on the table and scream."

4. Going to this extreme step, ITM seemingly has alienated any political relationships it previously had. This will likely end any shreds of relationships they had.

5. While I understand ITM's motivation, this all strikes me as too little-too late. Much of ITM's problems have been self-inflicted over decades of stagnation and mismanagement.

6. I don't see a happy ending to the ITM story.

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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:23 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:17 pm
Posts: 139
The ITM earlier filed a law suite in Federal Court in Indianapolis.

I do not know what has happened with that. Maybe you can check with the court in Indianapolis.

You are right about their self inflected problems. They want to blame everyone and take NO responsibility for their own actions.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:55 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
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I posted a news story earlier on this. I figger there was a promise ITM would always be allowed to operate on the line, I thought that was part of the agreement and there's a lot of politiclization going on to prevent that from happening. Go getem, ITM.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:20 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
dinwitty wrote:
I posted a news story earlier on this. I figger there was a promise ITM would always be allowed to operate on the line, I thought that was part of the agreement and there's a lot of politiclization going on to prevent that from happening. Go getem, ITM.


You figure wrong. There was a lead agreement that expired during the Clinton Administration. After that, ITM was operating on an at will, month to month basis. Nowhere in their legal documents does ITM claim they had a promise to operate on the railroad for all eternity.

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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:03 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
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I must have been thinking of the Hoosier Valley issue, hope both museums get thru this.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:38 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
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The Hoosier Valley situation is quite different. In our case, we still operate trains to English Lake, even though we have been barred from operations beyond. And the museum site in North Judson itself, is actually owned by the museum. There continue to be problems, but of a different scope than ITM has encountered.

Les Beckman (Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum/North Judson, Indiana)


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2435
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
All of this shows the importance of owning your own site and railroad, if possible.

ITM has had decades to buy their own property and develop it into a museum site, and is still in the same, shabby junkyard of a location they've been in for decades.

Once this is all said and done, this whole episode is worth a seminar or symposium at a TRAIN/ARM/ATRRM/HRA conference.

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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:27 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
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Location: S.F. Bay Area
Food for thought, there is a perfect tourist-line-sized railroad for sale an hour east of Indy. It is not physically connectable to the general system, but then, neither is ITM. I'm quite sure both towns would appreciate a $500k business moving into town with all the side trade that will generate. I know at SMRS it was a game changer for our towns' other businesses when we raised business a little.

Noblesville and Fishers are both rich towns, located on the affluent northwest (I-69) side of Indy, adjacent to Carmel. Sometimes rich towns get a little bit commie, and forget where money comes from. If they don't want the several million dollars of side sales from the railroad's operation, I'm sure those other two towns would be happy to eat their lunch.

wilkinsd wrote:
Once this is all said and done, this whole episode is worth a seminar or symposium at a TRAIN/ARM/ATRRM/HRA conference.

Ain't that the truth... seminar practically writes itself.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
robertmacdowell wrote:
Food for thought, there is a perfect tourist-line-sized railroad for sale an hour east of Indy. It is not physically connectable to the general system, but then, neither is ITM. I'm quite sure both towns would appreciate a $500k business moving into town with all the side trade that will generate. I know at SMRS it was a game changer for our towns' other businesses when we raised business a little.

Noblesville and Fishers are both rich towns, located on the affluent northwest (I-69) side of Indy, adjacent to Carmel. Sometimes rich towns get a little bit commie, and forget where money comes from. If they don't want the several million dollars of side sales from the railroad's operation, I'm sure those other two towns would be happy to eat their lunch.

wilkinsd wrote:
Once this is all said and done, this whole episode is worth a seminar or symposium at a TRAIN/ARM/ATRRM/HRA conference.

Ain't that the truth... seminar practically writes itself.


It's an interesting thought, but the fact that HHPA is actively soliciting proposals from others to operate trains indicates one thing to me. The owners of the railroad realize the economic benefit, but their relationship with the former operator became too much to bear. From other news reports, it appears there are others who submitted proposals to operate the line.

Given the population density of the area, it'd be interesting to see what a competent operator could do.

Saving the Nickel Plate line and saving ITM are two separate and distinct issues. It might very well end up that the line itself is saved, with a different operator.

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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:10 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
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The political arena ITM is in needs to be positive to the museum, not on a scrape blade attitude to it. Just about any museum has its "junkiness" out of necessity. Parts here this and that there, thats how it is. Walk around any railroad yard area and service areas you will have erratica about. For operations running trains is beneficial to the public and the museum.

Like I said, go getem, ITM.

I posted this in the previous ITM thread about a month ago, so repeating it here..

Quote:
Train museum plans federal suit alleging government interference
Posted by: "Dennis Parejko" railchicago@sbcglobal.net railchicago@sbcglobal.net
Date: Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:43 pm ((PDT))

Train museum plans federal suit alleging government interference
Indianapolis Business Journal

The Indiana Transportation Museum has notified officials from Hamilton County, Noblesville and Fishers that its intends to file a federal lawsuit accusing the government of unjustly interfering in the museum's operations, causing it a critical loss of more than a half-million dollars in revenue.The Noblesville-based not-for-profit museum said it filed the tort-claim notice Friday afternoon. The notification was sent to the leaders of the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority, the mayors and deputy mayors of Noblesville and Fishers, all three Hamilton County commissioners and several other county officials. It also was sent to Gov. Eric Holcomb and Attorney General Curtis Hill.“We have tried to find ways to work with these entities and our efforts have not been successful," John McNichols, the museum’s board chairman, said Friday afternoon at a press conference. "Our efforts have been met with indifference and opposition.”The museum and area officials have been wrestling over the futureof the 37-mile railroad for months. Noblesville and Fishers seek to convert a section of the rail corridor into a 14-foot-wide pedestrian trail, but the museum wants the rails to remain so it continue to operate trains on them.The Hoosier Heritage Port Authority, the quasi-government entity that oversees the railroad, terminated its policy-of-use agreement with the museum in March 2016, citing concerns about the museum's financial condition, maintenance and safety conditions of the tracks.The port authority ultimately forced the museum to discontinue its popular State Fair Train and Polar Bear Express rides last year.The tort-claim notice, which museum officials made public Friday afternoon, said the museum lost more than $350,000 in revenue because it couldn't operate the Polar Bear Express. It also says it lost another $150,000 when it was prohibited from operating the Indiana State Fair Train.The museum said it has agreements to operate the excursions with Fishers, Noblesville and Hamilton County, which together own the Nickel Plate Railroad. The notice says the museum was “current on all terms and conditions” of the operating agreement with the port authority at the time it was prevented from using the tracks.The museum's notice said the actions by the government officials denied its rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and the Fifth Amendment.Local officials defamed the museum, interfered with an established business, breached an agreement, failed to engage in fair dealing, failed to comply with the Indiana Open Meetings and Records Act, and engaged in abuse of process, according to the notice.Attorney Samuel Bolinger is representing the museum.Officials from Fishers and Noblesville declined to comment. Rhonda Klopfenstein, president of the Port Authority, did not respond to IBJ’s request for comment.The notice for the tort claim was sent to Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear and Deputy Mayor Steve Cooke; Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness and Deputy Mayor Leah McGrath; Hamilton County Commissioners Steve Dillinger, Mark Heirbrandt and Christine Altman; Hamilton County Tourism Inc. President and CEO Brenda Myers; and Madison Railroad CEO and port authority consultant Cathy Hale.The port authority recently issued a request for proposals for a new operator of the track, and responses were due Tuesday. Four groups submitted responses—the transportation museum, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Railway Co. of Indianapolis, Hoosier Heritage Railroad Inc. of Fishers and Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad of Arcadia.The museum contends it won’t be given a fair chance. A media advisory issued Friday morning by the museum said the lawsuit it intends to file will focus on the “biased RFP process.”McNichols said he hoped the parties involved could come to an equitable agreement before the Indiana State Fair begins Aug. 4. The authority has said it will not make a decision in time for an operator to offer the fair train this year.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:29 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
dinwitty wrote:
The political arena ITM is in needs to be positive to the museum, not on a scrape blade attitude to it. Just about any museum has its "junkiness" out of necessity. Parts here this and that there, thats how it is. Walk around any railroad yard area and service areas you will have erratica about. For operations running trains is beneficial to the public and the museum.

Like I said, go getem, ITM.


No, the railroad is beneficial to the community, not necessarily the museum, as they are two separate things. What if another operator could bring better service and provide for better use of the line? That may very well be a possibility.

The legal talk in the press releases coming from ITM is our argle-bargle and jiggery-pokery. They might have an argument under the Constitution if they actually owned the railroad they previously operated on, or owned the park site where their "museum" is located.

To be clear, ITM owns no real property whatsoever. No rail, no site. It's all leased or was leased. They've always been at the mercy of politicians, and it worked for a while, but now their own failure to plan as an organization is coming back to bite them.

To break ITM's legal argument down in layman's terms this would be like a former tenant of your property suing you so they can permanently move in, even if you have other potential tenants lined up, or have better, other uses for your former rental property.

What we are seeing are the last, desperate gasps of a failed non-profit organization. Yes, they might score a minor legal victory and get a TRO, but when full evidence is presented in court, I doubt ITM will prevail. In other words, there's nothing for them to "go get"

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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:15 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:17 pm
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I live in Noblesville, Indiana. I drive through the park on many weekends just to check things out.
I have told a number of people, that if these people really want that track back, then actions would speak louder then words. I pass through the park in the middle of the day, on weekends. I have yet to see any work details going on at their site. Maybe, just maybe I am missing it somewhere, but I would think that if you wanted to run this railroad again, then you would concentrate on getting your act together.

Start with cleaning up the property, getting your crews trained and getting your equipment ready. Then, if then, you are given a new opportunity to again operate this railroad, you are ready to go.

Instead, it is a blame game, nothing is our fault!

Even with their successful fair train, there has been less cars on the train the last few years. Why, because we can not care for them. I was told by a board member, that several need major truck work.

Too many museums have no major plan for the future that they stick with. Changes in leadership, bring changes in plans, then nothing gets done.

I personal fear for the future of the Nickel Plate Rail line. I believe that the mayor of Fishers wants nothing less then the removal of the railroad for a trail. He looks over at Carmel with the Monon Trail, all their development and wants that for his town. Too bad that Carmel is swimming in debt and their mayor wants to take on more.

The Hoosier Heritage Port Authority needs to find a REAL operator that they can partner with to develop this railroad, not just for passenger, but for freight as well. Sadly, I don't think they see the light either. I also do not think that any of the proposals are qualified either.

This is my opinion and I have watched this line since the days that N&W ran it.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:53 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:46 pm
Posts: 20
I am pretty much in agreement with that assessment. I don't think we will ever again see train operation south of Noblesville, and maybe not north of it either. I think the powers that be want to be done with the whole railroad thing, but for a long time that was a politically unfeasible position. The ITM has now managed to screw this whole deal up to the point that now the HHPA, Fishers and Noblesville have sufficient cover to do what they have wanted to do for quite some time. I think the solicitation of a new operator is mostly a sham to cover their bases. Perhaps some operator WILL try to run to the north, but with no museum and no Fair Train, how successful would that be? There really isn't anything on the north end of the line to attract interest, and no facilities either. It's all really quite sad. At this point, my biggest concern is the historically significant equipment. I would hate to see #587 end up stuffed and mounted in a park again.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:44 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:23 am
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What people don't understand about ITM taking this to court is they are trying to keep the first spike from being pulled and they are trying to push this thing "down the line" to the upcoming elections as all indications are the current mayors and there cronies will be voted out of office as the residents of the affected towns have spoken...THEY DONT WANT a trail, all public opinion is heavily in favor of keeping the railroad INTACT! People around here are tired of the shove it in your face politics, and plan on doing something about it at the next election.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:46 pm
Posts: 20
I'm rather dubious of that. I don't see this as an issue that is going to create enough heat to knock incumbent office holders out. Also Hamilton County is Mecca for Republicans in the state of Indiana, so unless you think that all of these Republican voters are going to pull the lever for Democrats come election time, then you would have to knock these guys out in the primary, which would be a HUGE undertaking, bordering on the impossible.


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