Farmer wins lawsuit against city
For years, Riverton farmer Michael Giolas battled his hometown to stop what he claims is an effort to push out agriculture in favor of development.
In suits against Riverton, Giolas alleged the city failed to enforce its ordinances by letting construction crews dump waste and dirt on his crops or clean cement trucks so nearby that runoff water damaged his crops. Giolas, a hay farmer who leases his land, also claimed the municipality limited his access through the installation of curbs and gutters to his land.
Last year, a jury in 3rd District Court found Riverton liable for more than $200,000 in damages. On Dec. 31, Judge Joseph Fratto signed a final judgment awarding Giolas a total of $233,807.36, which included his costs in the legal fight.
"As far as I know, this is the first time the city has been held to account for its development practices," Dale Gardiner, Giolas' attorney, said earlier this month. "Farmers don't usually win against cities."