Naples lawsuit heads to mediation

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — A lawsuit involving the Town of Naples and American Holdings Inc., which operates the Sunnyside Village, should be headed to mediation after a months-long battle in the Maine Business and Consumer Court.

The company’s co-owner Barbara Klimek spoke at the Naples Board of Selectmen meeting on June 29.

“We want to go to mediation on the remaining disputes with the town,” she said.

“We are asking as many as possible  of the selectmen to attend the mediation to finally hear both sides of the case,” she said.

Klimek had been prepared to put on her calendar a firm date to sit down for the mediation. She said her intentions were thwarted in June when the town’s attorney filed another motion in court.

Then, on July 1, the town’s attorney filed a notice to appeal a judge’s ruling that was decided in mid-March, Klimek said.

According to Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak, “The Town of Naples filed a notice of an attempt to appeal.”

“Again, we haven’t appealed. We have filed a notice to appeal. The selectmen, after meeting with the town attorney, decided to go forward with this,” he said.

The meetings were in executive session; and therefore, Paraschak was not at liberty to go into detail.

“In this case, the selectmen are hopeful that the outstanding enforcement issues can be resolved,” he said.

He did not elaborate on which enforcement issues still warrant resolution.

This action on the part of the town does not rule out the possibility for mediation in the future, he said.

“We will be going back and forth, trying to lock down a date, probably sometime in late August” for the mediation, he said.

“The two parties will go into mediation to hash out the issues. The way it works is a judge or mediation attorney will be referred to us — an impartial third party,” Paraschak said.

American Holdings Inc. filed a lawsuit against the Town of Naples in 2014.

The lawsuit stemmed from a code enforcement action, which required them to buy back the condominiums they sold decades ago. According to Klimek, she and her husband had no interest in buying back the condos nor did the current owners have any desire to sell.

In March 2015, a partial judgement ruled that the business’ property was not in violation of the condo-conversion ownership. Also, the judge’s ruling stated that American Holdings was not in violation of having an illegal dwelling.

Since that ruling, the Town of Naples has filed appeals at least five times.

“That part is over. The court ruled in our favor,” Klimek said when she spoke before the selectmen a few weeks ago.

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