An Update to the circumstances of the Johnson’s Pond Dam Purchase:
HELLOTO MY FELLOW JPCA MEMBERS AND RESIDENTS:
This update is spurred by John Assalone’s recent Facebook Post regarding the purchase of the dam which had a dire tone that has worried many of you. As a result of this post and a discussion with Marc Lemoi (JPCA President) I would like to correct a few items in John’s post and provide more background on what I believe can and can’t happen going forward.
SOME HARD FACTS:
1. The current lease does not expire until 3/31/2024.
2. Contrary to John’s concerns about fees next year in his post, there can be no fees imposed while the lease is in effect. Section 4, page 4 of the lease assigns all decisions related to fees, admissions, etc. to the sole authority of the Town of Coventry.
3. The status of the purchase is that the due diligence period is ending with a tentative closing on or about 10/02/19.
SOME BACKGROUND DETAILS:
When the purchase of the dam occurred, I had some long conversations with the buyers. At that time I repeatedly urged them not to attempt to seek fees and compensation from the residents but rather to negotiate a lease renewal with the Town in a reasonable manner and amount which would be fair to them as new owners and to the Town as interested partners.
At that time, they indicated their understanding and commitment to proceed as I described.
During that conversation, I indicated that they would face significant adversarial resistance by me and others if they did not follow a reasonable path of management and ownership.
The rumors that are circulating are not rumors. These outrageous statements are coming directly from one of the buyers. I am now one of their adversaries. Those of you who are my age, will remember that in the 80’s we had a “range war” (John Assalone’s term) with Quidnick over drastic water level drops, potential fees, etc. As then President of JPCA, I and the JPCA Board were able to demonstrate to Quidnick Reservoir that reasonable interaction was the only viable solution. Today, we have even more tools in hand to influence and motivate the new owners toward reasonableness. Some of these tools could be involved in future litigation and I will not detail them at this point.
Prior to writing this update, I conferred with Quidnick Reservoir, The Coventry Town Manager, and John Assalone. I basically agree with the sentiment expressed in John’s Facebook Post.
I am confident in the accuracy and currency of the information that I have included here.
I expect very little to change before 2024. There are many residents with the resources and resolve to force a reasonable and stable relationship with the new owners. In the next few weeks a few of us will be meeting to discuss the options that we have available. I am profoundly disappointed in the approach and rhetoric that the new owners have espoused I hope everyone can step back and dial down their anxiety while this plays out a little bit. We will not become serfs living on our feudal lord’s estate. Been there, done that!
I would also suggest that interested residents Google search “Riparian Rights” for some further insight. It might make you feel a little better.
I will provide updates as events evolve. Enjoy the rest of the summer.
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