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State found in contempt over Grand Lake St. Marys payment

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Supreme Court has ordered the state to speed up compensation to dozens of landowners who suffered losses from flooding near Ohio’s largest inland lake.

The court ruled 5-2 Wednesday that the state is in contempt of the court’s 2011 ruling and must complete most compensation cases within four months.

At issue is how fast the Department of Natural Resources is responding to a year-old court order to compensate 87 landowners near Grand Lake St. Marys in western Ohio, about 50 miles southeast of Fort Wayne.

Landowners said a horseshoe-shaped dam the state built in 1997 has led to significant floods almost every year since then.

Attorneys for the landowners alleged the state has dragged its feet since last year, while the state said it has taken extraordinary measures to move forward with the appraisal process.