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Published Wednesday
January 1, 2003

Carhart now owns clinic's building, plans remodeling




After more than two years of legal battles, abortion doctor LeRoy Carhart has finally taken ownership of the building housing his Bellevue clinic.

The title transfer was completed Monday, said James Sherrets, Carhart's attorney.

A partnership of three abortion opponents, including State Sen. Paul Hartnett of Bellevue, had bought the building in May 2000 from Brams Ltd.

The partnership, Bert Murphy LLC, then began eviction proceedings against Carhart. He is one of only three doctors in Nebraska known to perform abortions.

Carhart went to court and won, successfully arguing that his lease gave him the right to buy the building before it was offered to anyone else, known as a "right of first refusal."

Carhart paid $325,000 for the building at 1002 W. Mission Ave., the same amount that Bert Murphy paid, Sherrets said.

In addition to receiving title to the property, Carhart received $50,000 from Bert Murphy in exchange for Carhart's promise not to seek further claims against the partnership.

Carhart said Tuesday that he was glad the case was over so he can move forward with changes to the clinic "for the safety and privacy of our patients, and to make it look attractive."

Sherrets said he expects to file a suit later this week against Brams Ltd., the original landlord, for failure to honor Carhart's right of first refusal, for rent that Carhart paid unnecessarily, over lease provisions regarding repairs to the property and for legal fees.

Sherrets estimated that $150,000 in damages would be sought from Brams.

Robert Hovey, lawyer for Brams Ltd., could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Emmett Childers, lawyer for Bert Murphy LLC, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
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