Family files Olsen Park lawsuit, city and county defendants - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Family files Olsen Park lawsuit, city and county defendants

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A small piece of land is at the center of a lawsuit involving some big names in New Hanover County.

The City of Wilmington and New Hanover County are two of five defendants listed in a complaint filed in Superior Court on March 1, 2013.

The document describes a tract of land in Olsen Park owned by plaintiff John Olsen. He's listed as the property owner, according to a general warranty deed from 1952.

That property was sold, along with the greater Olsen Park area, to the City of Wilmington. The sellers, according to the legal document, were the other three listed defendants: Margaret Olsen, Three Blind Mice LLC and Olsen Farms of Wilmington LLLP.

Those three entities committed fraud and theft by selling land that was not theirs, according to the plaintiff's complaint.

When contacted Monday afternoon, Margaret Olsen had no comment.

Wilmington's city attorney confirmed that he received notification of the lawsuit Monday. Due to pending litigation he would not comment further.

Mayor Bill Saffo said Monday that the city is thorough when buying land. He said the city's general warranty deed on the entire Olsen property is a defense in itself.

"That's about as strong as it gets," Saffo said.

The mayor added that the lawsuit seems to be more of a conflict between Olsen and Olsen, not the city of Wilmington.

John Waite, the grandson of John Olsen and designated spokesperson for his family, said the two local governments were included in the complaint in order to meet the statute for adverse possession. After seven years of the initial sale to the city passed, Waite said his family would have no legal leg to stand on.

While the lawsuit is connected to Olsen Park, Waite said the matter won't affect current and existing development in the area.

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