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Jail opposition group sues to stop use of Allen County Courthouse as collateral

Rendering of the proposed Allen County jail by Elevatus Architecture
Elevatus Architecture
Rendering of the proposed Allen County jail by Elevatus Architecture

The Allen County Residents Against the Jail, an activist group opposed to the construction of the new Allen County correctional facility, is suing the Allen County Commissioners, the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) and the Allen County Building Corporation.

The Allen County Commissioners need collateral to issue bonds to help pay for a new jail costing more than $300 million. The 1,336-bed facility is the county’s answer to a federal court order to address issues such as overcrowding and safety at the aging downtown jail.

The lawsuit, filed in the Tax Court and the Allen County Superior Court, aims to stop the commissioners from using the historic Allen County Courthouse as collateral for the bond from the Building Corporation.

The DLGF has already approved the use of the courthouse in this manner.

The opposition group thinks that that is illegal.

Allen County officials said the jail project will move ahead with “what we have.” A county commissioners spokesperson said construction will be on hold until the issue gets resolved because the commissioners cannot issue bonds while the collateral is in question.

Officials said they do not know if the Tax Court or the Allen Superior Courts have jurisdiction in this matter. Both courts will have to decide before the case can move forward.

Tony Sandleben joined the WBOI News team in September of 2022.