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Owners of former Holiday face suit

The previous owners of property where a Moorhead gas station once stood want the parent company to reimburse them for losses tied to contamination at the site.

The previous owners of property where a Moorhead gas station once stood want the parent company to reimburse them for losses tied to contamination at the site.

Maurine Swanson, Kirstine Sorenson and Lief Swanson plan to file a lawsuit Monday in Clay County District Court against Holiday Companies. A scheduling conference Thursday set a trial date in the case. While the case hasn't officially been filed, some court papers were available.

Holiday Station Stores, a subsidiary of Holiday Companies, operated at 901 Center Ave. from 1981 until 1997.

A complaint in the lawsuit states the gas store polluted the ground when Holiday leased the land from Maurine Swanson's father, Eric Martinson.

The pollutants may have been released from underground storage tanks that held gasoline at the site, documents state.

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"My clients allege that the property diminished in value because of contaminates," said Michael Fluegel, an attorney for the plaintiffs.

"When they sold (the property) they got a substantially lower price," he said.

In response to the suit, Holiday officials state some pollutants were left on site but deny allegations that it breached its lease, leaving the pollutants in the subsoil.

Attorneys for Holiday Companies didn't return telephone calls Thursday.

Maurine Swanson, Sorenson and Lief Swanson sold the property in March for $135,000 to Strand and Marcy Insurance, which has offices in Moorhead and Comstock, Minn.

Jim Huesman, a spokesman for the current owner, said any pollutants in the soil are not a risk to the public.

The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $50,000.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Michael Benedict at (701) 241-5557

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