The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling and dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block the sale of a former Farmington elementary school building to an Islamic organization.
The Farmington district sold the former Eagle Elementary building to the Islamic Cultural Association paid $1.1 million to the Farmington district for the building, which the group plans to use as a mosque and cultural center.
In the lawsuit, Melvyn Sternfeld, a real estate professional who lives near the former school, argued that the sale should not go forward because the district had indicated that the building would be razed and the play area and ball fields there would be made available for public use.
Sternfeld contended that as a real estate professional, he made inquiries on behalf of potential buyers of the school, but the district told him the site was not for sale. The appeals court found that Sternfeld did not have legal standing to challenge the sale.
“There is no indication whatsoever in the affidavit that a person or entity represented by Sternfeld actually wished or sought to purchase or make an offer to purchase Eagle,” the three-judge panel stated. “Sternfeld did not aver that he himself was interested in purchasing the school, and any interest in a fee or commission from a sale absent a real-life client with an ability, let alone a desire, to make an offer renders the interest purely theoretical.”
The judges also rejected Sternfeld’s claim of legal standing based on his status as a neighborhood resident who believed the ball fields and play areas would remain.
“Sternfeld did not assert that he actually used or hoped to use Eagle’s ball fields or playgrounds, nor did he aver that the sale to the (association) would have an impact, negative or otherwise, on his home, life, or activities because of the proximity of his home to Eagle," the judges wrote. "...Indeed, given Sternfeld’s first argument on standing and the hope to find a client who would make an offer to purchase the school, he evidently has no problem, generally speaking, with Eagle being sold despite his home’s location near the school."