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Lawsuit related to Fufeng petitioners set for hearing next week

An oral hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 18, in Devils Lake

A courtroom gavel
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GRAND FORKS – A lawsuit against the city brought on by Ben Grzadzielewski, one of the leaders of a petition that seeks to bring a proposed corn-milling plant to be constructed by Fufeng Group to a citywide vote, and “People for the Vote” LLC is set to go to trial Thursday, Aug. 18, in Devils Lake.

A scheduling conference was held Tuesday where attorneys from both sides, along with Judge Donovan Foughty met to discuss the administrative appeal and Petition for a Writ of Mandamus and whether to combine both into the hearing. Oral arguments will be held during the hearing on Aug. 18.

Discussion was also had on whether the administrative appeal should be dismissed, something Foughty said he'll decide by early next week.

The lawsuit against the city was filed in early May after the city rejected the petition, which had nearly 5,000 valid signatures, in early April, citing a range of legal and technical issues. The city also noted that the issue the petitioners were trying to refer to a referendum is an “administrative matter” that can’t be sent to the ballot.

Another lawsuit against the city related to Fufeng was brought on by Grand Forks County resident Dennis Kadlec, who claims the city of Grand Forks did not provide adequate notice to him when the city moved forward with a plan to annex property near the city’s northern boundary.


Kadlec, who claims he owns property within the area being annexed, filed the complaint at the end of June and is seeking an injunction to stop the annexation of his property. The hearing for his case is set for Oct. 3.

South Dakota U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, one of 51 U.S. representatives who signed the Sept. 26 letter, told Agweek in a prepared statement, “China is not our friend, and if a purchase such as the one near the Grand Forks Air Force Base is a strategic move by the Chinese Communist Party to intercept sensitive U.S. military communications, this would cause serious problems."

Related Topics: FUFENG
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 719-235-8640 or MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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