NEBRASKA CITY – The Mayhew Cabin Foundation’s attempts to initiate legal actions regarding flooding this spring have stalled in district courts in Lancaster and Otoe counties.

The foundation, which promotes understanding of the historic Underground Railroad, previously asked the City of Nebraska City to accept liability for a drain tube that backed up after a heavy rain in May. The flooding impacted the underground cave and tunnel and caused the National Network To Freedom site to temporarily close.

The district court in Otoe County dismissed the foundation’s legal offering saying it appears to seek a filing in federal court and saying that foundation president Cathleen Briley does not have the legal credentials to represent the foundation in court.

Briley had sent a  letter to City Attorney Drew Graham that claims the city is acting improperly because its storm sewer drainage system brings water to a ravine that runs on the museum grounds. The letter says the ravine may have drained to a nearby stream in decades past, but that connection was severed with the construction of Highway 2 in 1938.

The letter asks the city to develop a water management plan for water that drains off of public property and goes into the ravine.

The letter says spring flood damage requires construction of a new museum building and repairs to the tunnel exit and walkways. 

A Lancaster County judge has asked the Mayhew Foundation to solve jurisdiction issues.