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Published: Wednesday, 8/18/2004

Auto shop relocates gear as eviction deadline nears

The owners of Kim's Auto & Truck Service Inc. continued hauling equipment and property out of its longtime location at Stickney Avenue and Expressway Drive in an effort to meet last night's eviction deadline.

The business is one of 16 that was condemned and bought by Toledo in 1999 to assemble land for a DaimlerChrysler factory in which to build Jeeps.

The city had told its owners to be off the property by midnight last night or be considered trespassers. Yesterday, trucks were being filled with equipment and moved across Stickney.

Herman Blankenship, co-owner with his wife, Kim, sued in 2002. On July 27, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Charles Doneghy issued a ruling ordering the company to turn over the property to the city within 21 days. Mr. Blankenship believes the value of his property set by a jury - $104,000 - is not enough for the shop to move.

Mary Chris Skeldon, spokesman for Mayor Jack Ford, said the city has offered to pay for moving and storage for up to one year. She said the family appeared yesterday to be complying with the order.

The Blankenships have filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. A news release issued by the family claims the U.S. Supreme Court approved a stay on the demolition of the building.

But City Law Director Barbara Herring said she checked with the court and found no stay had been issued. She has said DaimlerChrysler plans to use the site as a supplier entrance, but she said no demolition is immediately planned.

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