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Ciresi law firm to work pro bono on White Bear Lake water level lawsuit

Growing up, Mike Ciresi worked in his family’s White Bear Lake liquor store.

News this week that a White Bear Lake group is suing the DNR over the fallen lake level notes that the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi law firm is handling the case.

The White Bear Press says the law firm will do the work pro bono, up to $1.5 million.

That might be because of partner Mike Ciresi’s connection to the city. The paper says:

The lake restoration group was formed after [Brian] McGoldrick, Greg McNeely and Ron Trach approached the Ciresi Law Group about possible litigation regarding low lake levels. Attorney Mike Ciresi grew up stocking shelves at his parents’ White Bear liquor store now owned by his sister and agreed to provide pro bono legal work worth $1.5 million.

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McGoldrick called it the “ultimate Christmas present.”

The Ciresi Group, led by partner Jan Conlin, will likely invoke the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA), passed in 1971, to sue the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The statute’s intent is to allow citizens to stop the destruction of natural resources.

The lake’s normal level is listed as 923.5 feet, the paper said; last month it set a new record low of 919.21 feet.

The group hopes the matter can be resolved quickly:

“Our intention is not to go to court,” McGoldrick said. “We just want the DNR to do something. By the time it goes through the court system the lake will be gone, it will hit a point of no return.”