Residents file $10 million lawsuit against Ambassador Bridge Company

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 8/21/2013

A group of property owners on the Canadian side of the Ambassador Bridge are seeking $10 million in damages against the bridge company for neglecting and boarding up properties it owns in their neighborhood. In response to the lawsuit, the company owned by billionaire Matty Moroun blames the city of Windsor for stalling his plans to expand his bridge empire.

Moroun’s company had purchased 112 properties in the span of a decade in the Windsor area known as Olde Sandwich Towne, according to details of the lawsuit published in The Windsor Star.

The company says it planned to demolish properties during the expansion of the Ambassador Bridge – notably the proposal to construct a twin span next to the existing structure built in 1929.

Moroun and right-hand man, Ambassador Bridge Co. President Dan Stamper, have gone numerous rounds with governments on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border over the expansion project.

The pair even spent a night in jail in January 2012 after failing to meet a court-ordered deadline to complete property and expansion work on the Michigan side of the bridge. A court ruling in March of that year took the $230 million “Gateway” project away from Moroun and awarded it to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Plaintiffs in the Canadian lawsuit against the company claim that the boarded-up and overgrown properties Moroun owns have caused property values to plummet in Olde Sandwich Towne.

In response, Stamper calls out the city of Windsor and Mayor Eddie Francis for allowing other projects in the border region to proceed while the Ambassador Bridge project stalls.

“The city government, specifically Mayor Eddie Francis, has tried very hard to stop any improvements near the Ambassador Bridge,” Stamper said in a statement released to Land Line. “Hypocritically, the city government has continued to demolish structures and close roads to improve the city-owned (Detroit-Windsor Tunnel) at taxpayer expense. We say this is unfair treatment.”

Moroun amassed a billion-dollar fortune by owning stakes in numerous trucking and logistics firms in addition to owning the busiest border bridge in North America.

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