City Admin. Building Battle Petition Has Its Day In Court

Judge expected to decide if signatures are valid Thursday

It is the ‘Stop the Funding’ organizers against the Sioux Falls city clerk.

A civil lawsuit looking to reverse the invalid ruling of more than 6,000 petition signatures took place this morning.

The signatures were collected to halt the City from selling bonds for a $25 million City Administration building.

But those involved will have to wait one more day for the ruling.

“We were substantially compliant,” says petition organizer Bruce Danielson.

That’s the argument Danielson and his lawyers believe should allow the signatures he collected during his campaign to be certified.

They say it’s a matter of substance over form.

“All of the signers did their work exactly right, the ordinance that was on top of the first page was exactly right,” says Danielson.

The only issue was on the second page of the petition.

It was the form for state-wide issues, not municipal issues.

“I made a clerical mistake, I admit it and I always will admit that I made a clerical mistake,” he adds.

City Clerk Tom Greco and his lawyer, James Moore, argue this mistake should have consequences.

Especially because of the amount of experience Danielson has with petition drives.

While Danielson was on the stand during Wednesday’s hearing, he said the first petition he organized was in 1972.

“The city’s website should have been up and running, they did a $67,000 upgrade as they called it to the city’s website and it didn’t have all the information,” says Danielson. “That was the root of where the problems started from.”

Danielson claims Greco was also no help.

However, when Greco took the stand, he said the opposite.

Greco said he even sent Danielson the correct registration forms.

“What he wants to remember now is totally different than what I had done,” says Danielson.

Moore says according to statute Greco had no choice but to invalidate all the signatures.

He says there is no substantial compliance, it is all or nothing.

If the signatures are certified, Danielson’s lawyer would likely have to file for an injunction to stop the selling of bonds that would pay for the city administration building.

The mayor has the authority to sell the bonds in October, so in just a couple days.