IOWA CITY — University of Iowa Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz and his wife have been ordered to appear in court, along with their neighbors, after a settlement in a lawsuit apparently fell through.
Kirk and Mary Ferentz were scheduled to go to trial Feb. 6 in Johnson County for a lawsuit over road repairs and other issues in their rural Johnson County neighborhood. But the evening before the trial, the parties said they reached a resolution.
Six neighbors who sued the Ferentzes were to file dismissals by March 8, but when that wasn’t done, the trial was put back on the court calendar.
Sixth Judicial District Court Judge Christopher Bruns on Monday signed an order requiring the Ferentzes and six neighbors to appear at a June 1 hearing in Linn County. The neighbors are John and Ann Marie Buatti, Gary and Becky Watts, Elayne Sexsmith and Fred Page.
“No named party shall be excused from personal appearance,” the order states. “The court will determine at that time whether this case should be returned to the trial calendar or whether, as indicated in previous court orders, the court should dismiss all claims in this case with prejudice.”
The Saddle Club Road Homeowners’ Association sued Kirk and Mary Ferentz March 2, 2016, alleging the couple broke a 2001 contract and is responsible for their share of road repairs, or $9,600. The neighbors also claim the Ferentzes’ landscaping violated a neighborhood easement.
The Ferentzes’s house, with a net assessed value of about $1 million, was built in 1999, one year after Kirk Ferentz was hired as head UI football coach. Kirk Ferentz is the state’s highest-paid employee, getting more than $5 million in total compensation for fiscal 2017, states records show.
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Shortly after the Ferentzes built their house on the single-lane gravel road, the Buattis proposed subdividing their property for development. The Ferentzes opposed that plan because of privacy concerns, John Buatti testified in a deposition. The couples signed an agreement in 2001 saying the Buattis would not sell further parcels and the neighbors, including the Ferentzes, agreed to form a homeowners association, in part to plan for road maintenance.
The Homeowners’ Association was formed in 2015 and members later voted to pay $36,000 to repair Saddle Club Road. The Ferentzes dispute they ever agreed to be part of the association.
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