Meadville Tribune

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June 6, 2014

Hearing set for Thursday between Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park, Attorney General's Office

MEADVILLE — Officials from the Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park and the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane are expected to appear in Crawford County court next week for a hearing, the purpose of which has not yet been disclosed.

President Judge Anthony Vardaro will preside over the hearing, which is scheduled for Thursday at 1:15 p.m., according to the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas.

Previous reports from the Attorney General’s Office indicated negotiations have continued between the AG’s office and the Trustees since late April over a plan to revitalize the amusement park.

Recently, the Trustees voted to approve a plan from the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County to create a new board to oversee the park’s operations. The Economic Progress Alliance proposed a plan to revitalize the park and repay more than $900,000 in overdue property taxes dating back to 1997.

That action, however, requires approval from the Attorney General’s Office because Kane petitioned Crawford County Court of Common Pleas to oust the trustees.

The Attorney General’s Office has been reviewing Conneaut Lake Park’s financial records, meeting minutes and insurance policies for the past several months in regard to the state’s petition alleging the Trustees failed to take advantage of business opportunities that would’ve generated more revenue.

The petition also claims that the Trustees steered business away from Hotel Conneaut and that these incidents and failure to insure Dreamland Ballroom and The Beach Club, both of which were razed by fires, represented serious breaches of the Trustees’ fiduciary duty.

Jack Moyers, head of the trustees, has been a staunch opponent of the petition, claiming that while not all of their decisions have had public support, the Trustees strive to preserve and maintain the park for its historical, cultural, social, recreational and civic purposes as their by-laws state.

Crawford County commissioners have stated publicly that Conneaut Lake Park will be sold for back taxes in September unless an acceptable formal plan to repay the overdue taxes is presented. The possibility of a sheriff’s sale is also an option.

As of April 4, Conneaut Lake Park owed $906,595.44 in back property taxes, interest and penalties to Conneaut School District, Crawford County and Sadsbury and Summit townships, according to the Crawford County Treasurer’s Office.

Tribune attempts to reach Brian Pulito, attorney for Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park, and J.J. Abbott, spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office, were unsuccessful.

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