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State settles Spur station case

Jim Manahan

The State of Minnesota has agreed to pay $750,000 plus interest to the Knaffla Boman Partnership, owner of the Spur gas station in Silver Bay, according to documents filed with the Sixth District Court on July 18.

The jury that heard the condemnation case in April awarded the owner a total of $830,000, less $18,000 for the remaining value of the land, a net award of $812,000. The $750,000 now agreed upon means that neither party will appeal the case to a higher court.

“The owners deserve this award,” Orman said. “They have been fighting the state since 2006.” The owners, Donna Knaffla McCurdy, Bobbi Boman and Danny Knaffla opened the gas station and convenience store in 2002. In 2006, after the Minnesota Department of Transportation created a divider on Highway 61 making it more difficult to enter, the owners testified that the loss of tourist traffic decreased revenue, resulting in the closure of the business.

In late March, a jury awarded the Knaffla Boman Partnership $830,000 after they determined the state “had taken” their property.

Kevin Gutknecht, director of communications at MnDOT, said the agency wouldn’t comment on the case as the litigation is still open. He said before MnDOT starts a project, it does consider how construction will affect nearby businesses.

“We generally do an environmental assessment that takes a look at a lot of different factors,” he said.

Orman has also filed a motion seeking court costs, expert witness fees and reasonable attorney fees, in accordance with Minnesota statutes. According to court documents, the motion seeks close to $600,000. A hearing regarding the court fees will be held Aug. 6 at the Lake County Courthouse.

Editor LaReesa Sandretsky contributed to this story.