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Magnolia official offering to pay for court case

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GINA R. HEINE
February 11, 2011
— Town of Magnolia board member Dave Olsen said he's ready to contribute personal funds so the town can defend a case before the state Supreme Court.

"I will definitely get my checkbook out with my $10,000, and I think it will be the best money I've ever spent," he said Thursday.


The Gazette reported Thursday that the high court decided it would hear the town's case regarding a conditional-use permit at Larson Acres, the county's largest dairy farm.


The case revolves around conditions the town placed on the farm's permit in 2007 to protect groundwater.


The farm says the town is trying to micromanage the farm.


Olsen was unavailable for comment Wednesday, when Chairwoman Fern McCoy said she didn't want to spend any more town money on the case.


In July, the town board agreed to spend $2,000 to file a petition asking the Supreme Court to take the case.


Town board member Kurt Bartlett said he agreed to go ahead with the case if Olsen could commit to the town raising at least $10,000 in a new bank account by the time the Supreme Court decided whether it would hear the case.


That day is here, and Olsen said no account has been set up, but he will be talking to town attorney Glenn Reynolds about how to set one up.


"I have not accepted any money from anybody else, although I have been offered money by people," Olsen said, declining to say how much or who had offered him money.


He said he would like to set up an account that would allow anonymous donations.


He guessed it would cost the town less than $20,000 in legal fees to take the case through the Supreme Court.


He approves spending a "very small amount" of town money but said he is confident fundraising would provide all the needed funds.


"I think I'm confident other people will really see how important this issue is for not only the town of Magnolia but the whole environment of Wisconsin," he said.


The town has 30 days to file a brief to the Supreme Court.


The board will be scheduling a meeting with Reynolds to decide how to proceed, Olsen said.



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