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David Hammer / Eyewitness News
Email: dhammer@wwltv.com | Twitter: @davidhammerWWL

NEWORLEANS- LSU paid less than half of what it should have when it expropriated the old Claiborne Towers property at Canal Street and Claiborne Avenue and demolished the historic hotel and apartment building as a part of the big LSU-VA medical center project, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The state's 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling by a jury in Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Ethel Simms Julien's court, which found in favor of the property owners, 1732 Canal Street LLC, who said LSU vastly underpaid when it seized the property.

LSU had put $4.5 million into a court-supervised escrow account, but the jury awarded $9.6 million as the proper expropriation amount. That means LSU now owes another $5.1 million.

According to Secretary of State's records, 1732 Canal Street LLC is owned by a development group based in Washington, D.C.

The building had once been the largest apartment building in the South and later became the Grand Plaza Hotel. It was demolished last July in a dramatic implosion.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly named Susanne Cambre as an owner of 1732 Canal Street LLC. She is actually the company's registered agent.

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