BULLHEAD CITY — EPCOR Water Arizona, Inc. has asked for a change of judge to hear the city’s eminent domain case against it, and that request has been granted.
Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen, who is based in Kingman, has reassigned the case to Judge Pro Tempore Kenneth Gregory of Lake Havasu City.
Jantzen has had Bullhead City and EPCOR in his courtroom before. He was the judge who heard the case brought by the city against EPCOR last August for posting “No on Proposition 415” political signs earlier than state law allowed.
Jantzen found in favor of the city in that instance.
“They didn’t like that judge’s ruling,” said City Manager Toby Cotter. “We can all see through EPCOR’s pathetic position on this.”
Voters narrowly approved Proposition 415 in the Nov. 5 general election. That vote authorized city government to acquire EPCOR’s local assets so it could run the water system.
Cotter did note, however, that EPCOR’s request for a new judge was allowed.
A hearing on an order to show cause had been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today, but Gregory already has court business scheduled for that time.
The order written by Jantzen asked all parties involved with the case to contact Gregory’s office to arrange for a status and scheduling conference.
After a telephone conference last week, the parties agreed that the order to show cause hearing wouldn’t be an evidentiary hearing, according to Jantzen’s order dated Monday.
The city, Cotter emphasized, is ready to begin its case.
“This is just a page in EPCOR’s playbook — delay and look at every possible legal avenue to waste time and money,” he added.