OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha City Council has delayed voting on paying $232,000 to a woman whose lawsuit alleges the city wrongly demolished her house.
Councilman Pete Festersen said he needs more time to consider the issue and is concerned about setting a bad precedent.
The city’s Law Department has recommended the council approve the settlement since a trial would likely cost the city more.
Loan and William Nguyen filed the lawsuit alleging they were discriminated against and treated differently because they’re Vietnamese-American, The Omaha World-Herald reports .
A demolition order was issued in June after neighbors complained about a stench, according to court documents. The smell came from meat stored in a refrigerator in the garage that spoiled after the property lost power, records said.
The Nguyens cleaned the garage within a few days of the demolition order being issued, the lawsuit said. The Nguyens’ then-attorney, John Chatelain, contacted city officials to lift the demolition order, but the demolition crew still went through with the order, according to the lawsuit.
William Nguyen was arrested for obstructing government operations after he attempted to stop the demolition crew, but the charge has been dismissed.
The city said the Nguyens failed to file a request to temporarily halt the demolition.
The house was valued at about $150,000, according to property records.
The city should review its protocols so the crew could’ve taken less drastic measures to remedy the situation instead of “going to the extreme of tearing down a house,” said Council Vice President Chris Jerram.
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com