Meadville Tribune

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October 30, 2013

Attorney general's effort to oust trustees shouldn't interfere with tax sale

MEADVILLE — The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s petition to oust the current Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park shouldn’t interfere with a proposed sale of Conneaut Lake Park for overdue property taxes, according to Ted Watts, the county’s attorney.

“I don’t think so,” Watts said when asked Tuesday. “It’s a collateral issue.”

In May, the Crawford County Board of Commissioners said it will put into motion plans to have Conneaut Lake Park be sold for overdue property taxes. However, any proposed tax sale won’t happen until at least the September 2014 tax upset sale due to the number of properties and complexities involved with Conneaut Lake Park.

As of April 30, just prior to the commissioners’ announcement, Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park owed $877,168.24 in back taxes and interest to Crawford County, Conneaut School District and Sadsbury and Summit townships, according to figures from the Crawford County Treasurer’s Office. The overdue taxes and interest date back to 1997, according to the Treasurer’s Office.

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General has filed a petition with Crawford County Court of Common Pleas to oust the current Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park for what the Attorney General’s Office is calling the current board’s breaches of fiduciary duty in taking care of the park, causing the amusement park to suffer direct economic damages. The Attorney General’s Office cites a lack of fire insurance on the losses of the Dreamland Ballroom in 2008 and the Beach Club this year.

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General wants county court to compel the Trustees to show why the court should not:

Permanently remove all current Trustees and directors of Trustees;

Appoint a new board to govern the affairs of Trustees going forward; and

Order any other relief which the court deems appropriate.

The Attorney General’s Office also wants the Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park to produce “full and complete account of their administration” of the park from June 29, 2007, to the present time due to concerns “that the Trustees have committed other financial irregularities” since that date.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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