By Richard Ruelas | The Republic
A man who has been battling Tempe over a valuable piece of property where his family has lived for more than a century has introduced a novel argument in court: The land isn’t owned by him, nor the city, but by the state of Arizona.
It is the latest twist in a decade-long battle Steve Sussex has waged to stay on the property, both historic and an eyesore, just off the Mill Avenue District and adjacent to the Tempe Town Lake, a magnet of development for the city.
Sussex’s argument that he doesn’t own the land, argued in a court hearing this week, appears to be a legal maneuver, aimed at keeping the city from securing a ruling that would let them boot Sussex off the land. In a separate case, which is under appeal, Sussex argues his family does indeed own the land.