Our opinion: A year passes quickly

It has now been more than a year since the City of Warren filed suit against its former downtown development agency, GRO-Warren, the agency’s former director, and her husband.

Here’s an update: It has now been more than a year since the City of Warren filed suit against its former downtown development agency, GRO-Warren, the agency’s former director, and her husband.

That’s it. Since Jan. 24, 2013 and Jan. 29, 2014, the lawsuit has languished in the bowels of court records in the Warren County Courthouse, sans any discernable movement forward.

However, that doesn’t mean the issue or the lawsuit is dead.

At the time of the filing we said in this space that at least a jury trial, which the defendants had demanded in their initial response, would shed some light on the details of a half-million dollars of state grants GRO-Warren squandered on the failed Allegheny Center for the Arts building project on Liberty Street or the mythical hotel-convention center debacle that was mysteriously tied to it.

We weren’t looking for retribution for any individuals as much as hoping for some clarity on what happened and why.

Yes, there remains an open grand jury investigation regarding the ACA project and other failures that relied on state Department of Community and Economic Development funds over the past several years. That investigative group of 23 jurors has been meeting in Pittsburgh for the better part of two years. There has yet to be a report by the state Attorney General’s office on an outcome.

And, since grand jury proceedings are, by law, secret until a report is issued there is nothing we can report from it, other than the knowledge that it exists.

But, back to the city’s civil suit.

We are told by one of the attorneys involved in the suit that it has definitely not succumbed to disinterest or time, but rather in a case as complicated as this one, the period of discovery, during which documents are subpoenaed, witnesses deposed, and other information is gathered, can be lengthy.

None of this discovery happens in court and seldom does it generate new court records.

So, consider this our first in what may be an annual update on the saga that is the aftermath of GRO-Warren.