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Defense fund set up for pair who sued to halt Century Building demolition

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The Century Building was demolished late last year to make way for a parking garage. Developers say the move was necessary for the restoration of the Old Post Office.

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis – Some St. Louis City residents have set up a fund to help two downtown residents pay legal bills.

Roger Plackemeier and Marcia Behrendt originally sued the city, state and developers to try to prevent the Century Building from being torn down.

Those suits were thrown out, but now Plackemeier and Behrendt are being sued for more than $1 million.

Plackemeier says he would be wiped out financially if he loses, adding "it's a little bit odd that my own city is suing me for just taking a stand on something that I felt was in the best interest of downtown St. Louis."

Plackemeier and Behrendt's lawyer, Matt Ghio, compares it to SLAPP suits, which are usually filed against people who sound off at public meetings.

"The intended effect, I think, is the same," Ghio said. "I think they're trying to stifle citizens from coming forward and challenging government action they believe is illegal."

A judge in 2000 deemed the Century dangerous and allowed it to come down.

Lawyers for the city, state, and developers have been unavailable for comment.

But their lawsuit seeks the money because it says Plackemeier and Behrendt maliciously filed the original suits.

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