Church lawsuit over hangar dismissed

Defendant could ask court to order Church For All Nations to pay attorney fees
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An aircraft parked in COS Owners Association’s hangar area at Colorado Springs Airport. (Photo by Bryan Oller)

The lawsuit filed by Church For All Nations against a hangar association and contractor was dismissed March 27 by District Judge Michael McHenry.

It’s unclear what the church’s path forward might be, but the contractor, Hoag Construction, and its owner, Thomas Hoag, noted in a pleading that they “reserve the right to seek an award of attorneys’ fees and costs.” That tally might be considerable, given the lawsuit has spanned more than two years.

On March 2, McHenry ruled against the church in response to a motion by COS Owners Association (COSOA) for judgment on the proceedings. The lawsuit was brought by the church in early 2021, alleging that the roughly $400,000 it had paid over a span of years to the COSOA’s predecessor entitled it to an airport hangar site. The church wanted to build a hangar to house its airplanes. It further alleged that Hoag Construction persuaded the COSOA board to require those building hangars on the site, which COSOA leased from Colorado Springs Airport, to use Hoag as the contractor. This stemmed from Hoag’s previous infrastructure installment and the company’s need to recover its costs of that work. The COSOA board told the church if it wanted to hire another contractor, it must pay Hoag $240,000 — but that it had no right to build on the site in any event, because no such contract existed.

Mark Cowart preaches to his congregation at a recent service. (Photo by Pam Zubeck)

The March 2 ruling in COSOA’s favor prompted a motion to dismiss filed by Hoag.

In response to that motion, the church restated its argument. “The essence of the case is the unreasonable and arbitrary condition imposed by the Association (at Hoag’s behest) on Plaintiff’s use of an ‘other’ contractor to build the E-12 hangar,” the church’s attorney, Scott Johnson wrote. “Plaintiff sought a declaration as to the conditions that the Association could impose upon the use of an alternate contractor, and the amount due to Hoag (if any) for past improvements, judgment for the breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and (alternatively) recovery in equity for monies expended in reliance on the Association’s actions and promises. Plaintiff also sought to hold Hoag accountable for wrongful actions which interfered with Plaintiff’s rights.”

Citing the court’s decision on the motion for judgment on the pleadings, Hoag’s filing states, “The Court clearly found that the Plaintiff had no rights in relation to Site E-12, no rights to build a hangar, and certainly no rights to select its own developer.”

In his dismissal order, McHenry wrote, “Plaintiff’s claims against the Defendants Hoag (and the Association) are all premised upon the assertion that Plaintiff had an agreement and some right to build a hangar on Site E-12. As the Court previously ruled, Plaintiff has no such rights and …there is no plausible argument that Plaintiff had a right to request or demand its own developer….”

The judge also wrote, “… the Plaintiff has no rights regarding Site E-12 because it has failed to allege the existence of a contract…. Accordingly, the Defendants Hoag cannot interfere with rights that do not exist….”

We’ve asked the church’s attorney if he would like to comment and will circle back if we hear something.

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