Caroga board agrees to declaratory judgement to defend town in lawsuit

CAROGA — After a 40 minute executive session, the town board came to the decision to proceed immediately with a declaratory judgment to defend the town against the lawsuit made by the Balboaa Land Development Corporation.

According to Caroga’s “News Flash” sent by Councilman Kent Kirch, after the board’s regular meeting on Wednesday, they went into executive session to discuss the litigation.

There was an unanimous vote of five to move forward with the declaratory judgment. The town will continue to plan for the Sherman’s referendum on Aug. 20. Should the referendum pass, it would end all litigation with George Abdella, who is the president and sole stock holder of Balboaa Land Development Corporation, as well as the former owner of Sherman’s.

Abdella filed a notice of claim against the town alleging breach of contract, claiming the town has not maintained the property and requesting the Sherman’s property be returned to him.

The lawsuit was filed on June 28, just two weeks after the town board passed a resolution to enter into a contract for the sale of the Sherman’s property to the Caroga Arts Collective at the cost of $50,000.

According to the notice, Abdella is seeking damages, the rescission of the donation agreement and the deeds to the property transferred back to him.

In March 2015, the town and Abdella entered into a donation agreement in which Abdella donated a portion of the property on the condition that the town hold the property in perpetuity, never selling the property, and that the town “shall, at all times, maintain the property to the highest of standards.”

The notice states that the town has failed to obey the terms of the agreement in ways including: failure to maintain the buildings and grounds; allowing the sewer system to deteriorate to the point where it cannot obtain approval from the state Department of Health; failing to properly groom the landscape of the property; failing to maintain the interior; failing to repair the waterline; and failing to maintain the donated portion of the beach front and allowing it to become overgrown.