Brockman v. City of Creston

Decision Date11 February 1890
Citation44 N.W. 822,79 Iowa 587
CourtIowa Supreme Court


Appeal from an order allowing an injunction by J. W. HARVEY, Judge, third district.

Plaintiff, in his petition, prays that the defendants may be enjoined from enforcing and obeying an ordinance of the city of Creston providing for the conveyance of certain lots, and the city buildings thereon, of the value of $35,000, to Union county, and restrained from the delivery to it of a deed executed under said ordinance, and held as an escrow by one of the defendants, to be delivered when the county shall remove the county-seat from Afton, and relocate it at Creston. An order for a preliminary injunction was allowed, from which defendants appeal.J. B. Sullivan, Thos. L. Maxwell, Hanna & Porter, and McDill & Sullivan, for appellants.

J. M. Milligan and T. M. Stuart, for appellee.


1. The facts of this case are few, and involve no dispute. The defendant acquired the title of certain lots in the city of Creston, and erected thereon a large and valuable building, which, together with the lots, is worth $35,000. The building has been used for city purposes, but is larger than is demanded therefor, and is well adapted for a court-house, and offices required by the county. It appears to have been constructed for use by the county, and was intended as an inducement for the relocation of the county-seat at Creston. The city adopted an ordinance donating, with certain reservations, the lots and building to the county on condition of the relocation of the county-seat at Creston, and executed a deed to the county conveying, with reservations specified in the ordinance, the property to it, which was put into the possession of one of the defendants to be held as an escrow, and to be delivered to the county upon the performance of the condition of the relocation of the county-seat at Creston. A petition is being circulated by a large number of the citizens of the county, with the expectation and purpose of procuring signers in sufficient numbers to authorize the submission of the question of relocation to a vote of the people. The plaintiff is a resident of Afton, and has never lived in Creston, though he owns real estate of small value there. He is opposed to the relocation of the county seat at Creston, and has circulated and signed remonstrances against it.

2. It is a familiar rule of the law that cities and other municipal corporations can exercise only such authority as is expressly granted by their charters, or legislative acts creating them, or necessarily implied in such grant, or incident thereto; and reasonable doubts as to the existence of authority in such corporations are always to be resolved against it. See 1 Dill. Mun. Corp. § 55, and cases cited. No statute of this state grants cities the authority to dispose of or convey their property except for purposes contemplated by law. They have power to dispose of their real property for purposes authorized by law, and for no other purpose. The purpose of the disposition of the lands determines the question of authority. A city may sell its lands when its interests require that they be sold; but it possesses no authority to give away, or to convey, without consideration, or for a purpose which it has no authority to advance, any of its property. The city holds its property for the uses and benefits of the people. It is, as it were, a trustee for its citizens, and must use the property it holds for purposes sanctioned by law. There is no statute authorizing a city to erect buildings for the county, or to give to it a house and lands, to induce the relocation of the county-seat. It may probably be to the advantage of the city and its citizens to induce such an act. It may probably result to the great advantage of the citizens that manufactories, storehouses, hotels, and the like, be constructed. But it is not within the authority of the city to convey its property for such purposes. Counsel for defendant thinks that the authority to dispose of the lands of the city to secure the county-seat is conferred on the city government by Code, § 470, and section 1, c. 89, Acts 18th Gen. Assem. The first statute is as follows: They shall have power to purchase or condemn, and pay for out of the general fund, and enter upon and take, any lands within or without the territorial limits of such city or town for the use of public squares, streets, parks, commons, cemetries, hospital grounds, or any other proper and legitimate municipal use, and to inclose, ornament, and improve the same. They shall have entire control of the same, and shall have power, in case such lands are deemed unsuitable or insufficient for the purpose for which they were originally granted, to dispose of and convey the same; and conveyances executed in accordance with this chapter shall be held to extinguish all rights and claims of any such town or city to such lands existing prior to such conveyance. But when such lands are...

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3 cases
  • Morris v. City of Salem et al.
    • United States
    • Oregon Supreme Court
    • November 12, 1946
    ...High, Injunctions, 4th ed., vol. 2, section 1560; 32 C.J., Injunctions, section 408; 43 C.J.S., Injunctions, section 111; Brockman v. Creston, 79 Iowa 587, 44 N.W. 822; Pomeroy's Eq. Jur., 4th ed., section 1767, p. 4102, note; Crampton v. Zabriskie, 101 U.S. 601, 11 Otto 601, 25 L.Ed. 1070;......
  • Walker v. Dillonvale
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court
    • April 12, 1910
    ... ... suits the solicitor or taxpayer can bring in the name of the ... village or city. And if defendant in error is resorting to ... his remedy in equity to compel the restitution of ... McKisson, 15 C. C., 517; Brockman" v. Creston, 79 Ia. 587, 44 ... N.W. 822; Cope v. Wellsville, 25 W. L. B., 250 ...        \xC2" ... ...
  • Brockman v. The City of Creston
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • February 11, 1890

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