Source: The Baltimore Sun
By David Anderson, Contact Reporter
The Harford County Council granted a request this week by County Attorney Melissa Lambert to hire an outside firm to help the county with its defense in the ongoing federal lawsuit filed against it over the Ansar Housing development in Joppatowne.
“Given the complexities of the litigation, coupled with the volume of documents which we know will only become more numerous, and the possibility of appeals — all of this taken into consideration is just too much for the one attorney in my office that I have assigned this [case],” Lambert said during the council’s legislative session Tuesday evening, the council’s last session until early September.
The council approved the hiring of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP, of Baltimore.
Rosenberg is the same firm the county hired, with the council’s blessing, in May to assist with its appeal of a $45.4 million judgement levied by a Harford County jury in April in the nearly 30-year battle to build a rubblefill in the Gravel Hill community outside Havre de Grace.
The county is appealing the rubblefill judgement to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.
The federal lawsuit over Ansar Housing, OT LLC et al v. Harford County Maryland et al, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland last September as Forest Hill builder Bill Luther battled with the county government over the development of 48 houses along Trails Way in Joppatowne, on land near the Gunpowder River.
His company, Gemcraft Homes Inc., and OT LLC, the listed property owner of the lots, are the plaintiffs, along with Ajaz A. Kahn and Shades and Springs Inc., the nonprofit entity formed to help members of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim community purchase the townhouses being built in the new community.
Ground was broken for Ansar in the spring of 2017. It has been billed as a “mini-peace village” for elderly Ahmadiyya Muslims.