Now that the lake level staff gauge installation has been approved by DEP, the remaining requirement of the Clary Lake Water Level Order already under way but yet to be completed is a Water Level Management Plan [WLMP], defined in Special Condition #5 of the WLO. The Board has been working on it off and on for most of the winter and it is now in the final review stage. We’ll make it available as soon as it is finished and has been approved by the DEP. Copies will also be posted at the Whitefield and Jefferson Town Offices.
One of the requirements of the WLMP is that we develop a procedure for alerting people 1) of possible flooding events and 2) repair or maintenance procedures on the dam that are expected to appreciably affect lake levels. We propose to 1) post notices on this website and on Facebook and 2) send email notices to those people for whom we have email addresses and by postcard to those people without email. We’re in the process of setting up this notification system now and will start testing it in the near future. I’ll soon be adding a page on this site to keep track of water level related events and notices sent. Continue reading →
Just last week I posted about several filings made by Richard Smith and Paul Kelley in response to an appeal of the DEP’s Order transferring the Clary Lake Water Level Order to the Clary Lake Association (see: “Kelley, Smith, Duncan File Comments on AQF Appeal“). The appeal was originally filed by Aquafortis Associates LLC (AQF) on December 26th (see: Aquafortis Appeals CLA License Transfer). The Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) wasted no time in responding to those filings and in a move that should surprise no one, they were determined to be not admissible to the record and have been summarily rejected. The BEP has not responded to Butch Duncan’s request for a public hearing on the license transfer and I think it’s safe to say that’s just not going to happen. Continue reading →
The deadline for submitting written comments on Aquafortis Associates LLC’s appeal of the DEP Order transferring the Clary Lake Water Level Order to the Clary Lake Association was Tuesday, 22 January 2019 at 5:00 PM (see “Aquafortis Appeals CLA License Transfer“). Only Butch Duncan commented on the actual license transfer application so therefore, according to the Notice of Appeal, he was the only one entitled to submit written comments on the appeal. He did not disappoint, submitting a short email to the Service List just after 3 PM on Tuesday. Per the Notice of Appeal, the Clary Lake Association was also entitled to comment, and we did by our letter dated January 4th. Much to my surprise (just kidding!) verbose comments were also submitted at the last minute by Paul Kelley (a total of 79 pages) and Richard Smith (a total of 37 pages). Continue reading →
Back on December 26th I posted about Aquafortis Associates LLC appealing the recent DEP Order #L-22585-36-F-T transferring the Clary Lake Water Level Order to the Clary Lake Association. CLA President Malcolm Burson has in turn responded to the appeal with a short, succinct 1 page letter:
In a move that should surprise no one, Richard Smith of Aquafortis Associates LLC [AQF] has formally appealed the Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to approve our application to transfer the Clary Lake Water Level Order to our organization. The appeal of the December 6th Department Order #L-22585-36-F-T was filed “in a timely manner” with the Board of Environmental Protection [BEP] on December 11th, the same day I posted that our license transfer application had been approved. This appeal can only be viewed as ongoing harassment of the Association by Paul Kelley and Richard Smith and a continued attack on Clary Lake, and the Clary Lake Water Level Order. One wonders what they can possibly hope to accomplish with this appeal save wasting our time and that of the DEP and the BEP? It appears the following email I received from DEP on December 13th is in fact the formal appeal: Continue reading →
We are pleased to announce that the Department of Environmental Protection has approved the transfer of the Clary Lake Water Level Order from Pleasant Pond Mill LLC to the Clary Lake Association. There was never really any question that the Department would approve the license transfer given that the State openly endorsed our effort to purchase the dam from Kelley’s bankruptcy estate, but it is nonetheless very nice to have this matter behind us. The WLO which was appealed right after it was issued in late January 2014, was upheld by the Lincoln County Superior Court in a ruling issued February 26, 2016. Now, if someone complains about how we’re managing the lake level, we will simply say we’re obeying the Order and if they don’t like it, they can take it up with the DEP.
Now that we own the dam (or will, in a few days) we’ve got a lot to do! One of the first on the list of things to do is starting up the process of transferring the Clary Lake Water Level Order from the current licensee (Pleasant Pond Mill LLC or PPM) to the Clary Lake Association (CLA). The application has to be filed with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection within 2 weeks of the transfer of the property, and the first step is to send out a public notice of our intent to file the transfer application, and the approximate date. We originally sent this notice in early July when we anticipated owning the dam later that month, but court delays prevented that from happening. So here we go again. If you’re a littoral or riparian land owners around Clary Lake or someone who owns land directly across a road from the lake, you should have received your public notice earlier this week. There was also a notice in this week’s Lincoln County News. We’ve also started a second and final fundraising initiative to raise money needed to complete repairs to the dam; I’ll talk more about this in a separate post. Additional steps to be taken real soon include filing the underground tank registration form and the Permit By Rule notice required to work on the dam.
We’re one step closer to owning the dam! In accordance with the recent Order approving the sale of the Clary Lake dam to the Clary Lake Association, the Bankruptcy Trustee has filed evidence of compliance with paragraph 2 of the order, that being the transfer of the Clary Lake dam from PPM to Paul Kelley’s bankruptcy estate, from whence it will be eventually conveyed to us. The deed, dated September 28, 2018 was recorded by the Trustee at the Lincoln County Registry of Deeds on October 3, 2018 in Book 5311, Page 46. In other words, PPM no longer owns the Clary Lake dam. This has been a long time coming, and brings a smile to my face 🙂
Finally, more than a few people have expressed some concern about the 14 day appeal period, wondering what it means and worried that Paul Kelley will try and appeal the recent ruling. This is an understandable concern given past history with these parties, but it is not a valid one: as the debtor, Paul Kelley himself does not have standing to file an appeal; the only parties who do have standing to appeal are Richard Smith and Aquafortis Associates LLC. However, filing an appeal would be a waste of time and money because the judge granted us Good Faith protections under Section 363(M) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code meaning that any appeal becomes moot when we close on the property. If an appeal has been filed by the time we close, a simple motion to dismiss is all it will take to make it go away.
We’ve all been anxiously awaiting a decision from the Bankruptcy Court on the Clary Lake Association’s efforts to purchase the Clary Lake dam from Paul Kelley’s bankruptcy estate. This morning Judge Fagone announced his intention of issuing an Oral Ruling on the Trustee’s Sale Motion in open court at a hearing at 10 AM on Friday September 28th at the United States Bankruptcy Court at 202 Harlow Street, Bangor, Maine. The hearing will be open to the public. A date for a ruling is not the same as a ruling, but I’ll take it. At least now we have an end date for the Sale Motion!
Given how much time has passed since oral arguments back on July 27th, we were all expecting the Judge to issue a written decision but our attorney assures us that Judges issue oral decisions in open court with some frequency. We have every reason to believe the Judge will approve the sale of the Clary Lake dam at that hearing, with the only question being whether he sells us the dam free and clear of the restrictive covenants or approves the sale with the covenants in place. Either way we’ll own the dam. The closing will most likely take place the following week. We have a contingency plan in place to deal with the covenants if the Judge decides not to sell the dam free and clear.
We had not counted on this sale process taking so long, and it remains to be seen whether there is enough time this fall to get the dam permanently repaired or whether we’ll need to wait until next summer for that. Needless to say we’ll do everything we can to get the dam repaired and the lake level restored as quickly as possible.
If anyone is interested in attending the hearing and is looking for a ride, get in touch with me about carpooling!
The Judge in the Paul A. Kelley Jr. Bankruptcy case has issued an Order and Schedule for oral arguments on the a Final Sale Motion on July 27th, 2018 at 10:00 AM. The hearing will be at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 537 Congress Street in Portland Maine. The Order is only 4 pages long and is remarkably easy reading as Court Orders go, and I highly recommend everyone read it through so you’ll have an idea of the issues the court is grappling with. The Order both summarizes the actions taken to date starting with the May 22nd filing of the Motion to Sell up to last week’s July 5th evidentiary hearing, and then lays out 8 questions that the Judge wants the parties to address in their oral arguments before the court. Continue reading →
President Malcolm Burson and my wife Margaret and I attended yesterday’s Sale Motion hearing. Other parties in attendance were Butch Duncan, Richard Smith and Paul Kelley, counsel for the Clary Lake Association Randy Creswell, Bankruptcy Trustee Jeffrey T. Piampiano represented by Kaitlyn M. Husar, Esq., Assistant Attorney Generals Scott Boak and Kevin Crosman representing the Maine DEP, and attorney Dennis Carrillo representing Richard Smith and AQF. Regrettably, Paul Kelley’s bankruptcy attorney J. Scott Logan was not in attendance. Continue reading →