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La Crosse County DA won't investigate Holmen cross land sale

LA CROSSE -- The La Crosse County district attorney's office will not prosecute the Village of Holmen over its handling of its sale of the controversial Star Hill property.

The Madison-based Freedom from Religion Foundation asked the DA to see whether elected officials violated the state's open meetings laws, when it arranged the sale to the Holmen lions club.

La Crosse County district attorney Tim Gruenke says beyond an initial meeting last March where the property sale wasn't properly noticed, the village did nothing wrong.

"No decisions were ever made in any closed sessions, so there's really nothing for me to invalidate," says Gruenke. "And the public had ample opportunity to voice opinions about the sale of the property on at least three or four occasions."

The village board of Holmen sold the land to the Lions Club for $600 in May, turning down higher bids from two other groups -- including the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

The parcel has a lighted star and cross, which the village operated for several years. The Foundation said that was a violation of church and state.