PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Allegheny County Judge Michael McCarthy ruled Monday that the owner of an auto body shop on Route 28 must vacate the property by Oct. 1.
William Lieberth has been in a dispute with PennDOT over the taking of his property for the Route 28 expansion project.
“I’ll appeal as much as I can appeal, and hopefully I can hold them off till… I’m asking PennDOT still; I’ve been asking them for three years, there’s four lots right down the street from me, two-tenths of a mile,” Lieberth said.
Lieberth still wants PennDOT to make land available to him they’ve previously said was not for sale.
And he was not surprised, but was still angered by the ruling that his auto body shop must make way for the expansion of Route 28.
Lieberth argues that the lawyer he fired last month made a deal with PennDOT for $245,000 without his signature, and thus no order to vacate the property would be valid.
But in Monday’s ruling, Judge McCarthy ruled there was a valid agreement, citing case law that a settlement reached prior to trial is enforceable even if not yet reduced to writing.
“There can be little real controversy in this matter that an enforceable agreement was reached and must be honored,” Judge McCarthy said.
Lieberth is not convinced.
“I’m not leaving this immediate zip code area. This is my home base,” he said. “If you leave too far from your base, you’re going to lose all your customers. I can’t start all over. I’m too old.”
With the deadline approaching, Lieberth says he’ll appeal and will continue to look for alternative sites.
“I said from the very beginning, I’d die for the property if I have to. I said that three years ago, and I’ve been saying it,” he added. “I don’t trust them and I never did.”
Also, according to today’s order, his former lawyer’s fees of $31,000 have to be paid out of the settlement.