Old Mercy Hospital owners at risk of increased fines

LAREDO,Texas(KGNS)- Local leaders of economic development went before city council to ask that they loosen the reins on the old Mercy Hospital owners as they work towards a possible investment.

Just last month, the owners of the property announced that they reached an agreement with a Houston investor.

Presidents of the Laredo Chamber of Commerce and the Laredo Economic Development Corporation spoke to the council during public comment to ask that they delay any pending litigation with the old Mercy Hospital owners.

Since the agreement is non-binding and negotiations are still taking place Laredo Chamber of Commerce President Miguel Conchas asks that the city delay any upcoming legal action. He says there is a date coming up December 11th when further action is supposed to be taken and is asking the city council to consider extending the deadline.

Back in May, during the litigation between the City of Laredo and the old Mercy Hospital property owners, a motion was filed by the city to seek a third party receiver to take over the property if the owners don't meet the compliance deadline.

In a statement, City Attorney Kristina Hale says in part, "Although the civil lawsuit must continue until all violations have been resolved this will not in any way affect the proposed World Free Trade Plaza."

She explains that the city doesn't plan to take immediate action on the enforcement of the fines ruled by the jury. And adds that appointing someone to take over the property is a process that can take a few months.

The District Court ruled that the property owner would be given 150 days to make the necessary improvements to the property.

A jury imposed a one-thousand dollar fine on the owner per violation per day.

Come December 22nd the owners fine will increase to 23-thousand dollars a day.