In Wirtz v. City of South Bend, Indiana, Case No. 3:11-CV-325-RLM, 2011 WL 3922697 (N.D. Ind. Sept. 7, 2011), the court held that transferring a parcel of property to a parochial school as an incentive to cause the school to relocate to an abandoned downtown parcel violated the Establishment Clause. To encourage St. Joseph’s High School to relocate to and redevelop the downtown location, the City of South Bend adopted an ordinance allocating $1.2 million from the City’s economic development income tax fund for the purchase of a lot to transfer title to the high school to build athletic facilities and a parking lot that would be open to community use under certain circumstances. The plaintiffs sued as municipal taxpayers to prevent the transaction as a violation of the Establishment Clause. The court decided the case under one of the three prongs of the Lemon test as modified in recent years: whether the action appeared to favor or endorse a religion. The court observed that “[g]overnmental programs or actions that provide special benefits to specific religious entities are impermissible.” The City argued that the transaction should “be viewed in the context of many other transactions in which the City facilitates development by non-religious private entities, non-religious public schools, and other religious organizations.” Put otherwise, the City said that it had “neither more or less interest in promoting the religious message of St. Joseph’s High School” than it had in “promoting the particular business message of one of the businesses it aided” to facilitate economic redevelopment. The court agreed that the City had demonstrated a pattern of development that is neutral with respect to religion, but found that each transaction involved unique circumstances, a unique City action, and required separate negotiations, which the City had not shown were governed by any specific, neutral criteria making benefits available to all. Furthermore, the court ruled that the “objective, well-informed, reasonable observer would see no delineation between supporting the high school’s building project and supporting the religious school itself.”