The tenants of the property of Charles Slevin, now a part of the site of the new Union Station, must whistle for their share of the money paid by the Terminal Company when the property was condemned. Yesterday Judge Klein handed down a decision in the case of Wonderly vs. Slevin, and his finding was adverse to the plaintiff. This decision affects several similar suits.
When, in 1890, the Commissioners were called upon to place a valuation on Slevin’s property, he was aged and infirm and his nephew, Attorney Eugene C. Slevin, was delegated to conduct the negotiations. After the matter had progressed for some time the old man changed his mind and sent word to his nephew not to continue to represent him. Knowing his uncle’s infirmity, Eugene C. Slevin paid no attention to this and made an agreement with the Terminal Company to accept $73,200 for the property.
The ground was occupied by four tenants —Peter Wonderly, William Rutican, Donnewald & Co., and the Mount Olive and St. Louis Coal Co. All had made some improvements, for which they claimed reimbursement. In order to simplify the matter the tenants agreed to make over their interest to Slevin and let the Terminal Company pay in a lump sum; $3,000 was the amount settled upon for the improvements, to be apportioned as follows: Wonderly, $250; Ratican, $650; Donnewald & Co., $950, and the Mount Olive Co., $1,150.
The Commissioners reported on Nov. 21, 1891, and on Dec. 2, 1891, the $73,200 was paid by the Terminal Company into court. It took possession on Dec. 3, and on Dec. 4, Charles Slevin died. His wife qualified as executrix of the will. When the tenants wanted their share off the purchase price, she refused to pay it. An attempt was made to get the Probate Court to pass on the claims against the estate of Slevin, but it ruled that it had no jurisdiction. Suits were then filed in the Circuit Court.
These facts were developed at the trial of one of the suits. Judge Klein decided that the plaintiffs could not recover from Slevin’s estate, as he had never consented to the rtr-rangement by which the value of the improvements was included in the amount paid him. In fact, he never knew of it. Nor could he be bound by the action of his attorney, Eugene C. Slevin, whom he had discharged. This leaves the tenants the alternative of suing Eugene C. Slevin or the executrix personally.
St. Louis (Missouri) Post-Dispatch, January 5, 1896.