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City and GroWest reach settlement

By WKTV News

UTICA, NY (WKTV) - GroWest, a controversy that has thrown a shadow over City Hall since April of 2010, has finally been laid to rest.  

Mayor Robert Palmieri announced that the City of Utica will receive $370,000 from Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, settling a lawsuit alleging big-rigging and theft at the not-for-profit housing agency once headquarter in West Utica.

"The financial settlement the CIty of Utica has reached with GroWest's insurance carrier is the most favorable agreement we could have possibly made," Mayor Palmieri said. "Going to court would have taken years and cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even then, a jury could have left us with nothing. It's time to put GroWest behind us. At least we can begin to rebuild some of what GroWest destroyed."

Evidence and exhibits supporting the city's case fill 150 boxes. A prolonged court fight will involve at least a dozen lawyers representing as many as eight different litigants. City taxpayers would have had to pay for court fees, transcription services, forensic accountants and other expert witnesses.

"The certain costs outweight the possible benefits," explained Laura Campion, the city's lead attorney in the GroWest proceeding.

Any agreement between the City of Utica and the Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company resolves no criminal liability in the GroWest matter.

"At this point, any criminal prosecution is in the hands of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," Campion said.

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