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Talks Could End X-Mart Legal Battle

Augusta, GA— The legal battle against the X-Mart started before any current Augusta Commissioner was elected, but at least one city leader says it’s time to end the fight.

“It has been something that shouldn’t have been there as long as it has but it’s been going on far too long in my opinion so I think it’s time to move forward,” said Commissioner Corey Johnson.

In June of 2002, Augusta Commissioners rejected a plan by the X-Mart to open on the Gordon Highway, but that wasn’t the first vote on the issue. A month before, the Planning Commission took it up and that board had a different opinion.

“They heard the evidence supplied by the DA’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office and others and in spite of that they voted to approve the request,“ said Planning Director George Patty.

But, Commissioners didn’t follow the Planning Commission’s recommendation, a path that has taken the city to federal court.

Last year, the X- Mart was awarded $131,000 from the city for being illegally closed for 99 days in 2002. The store lawyers claimed victory and said the city should talk settlement.

The X-Mart is still closed but both sides now are talking about closing the case. City leaders confirming city and store lawyers are talking settlement through mediation.

“In the mediation there is going to be the opportunity to negotiate you know what’s feasible how much does it come to go get this thing behind us we both know going to court will cost money we can move beyond that and not go to court skip that process maybe we can take those funds and come to an agreement,” said Commissioner Corey Johnson.

Neither lawyers for the X-Mart, or City Administrator Fred Russell would comment on the mediation.

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