St. Albans eminent domain suit cleared for appeal to high court

Posted Oct. 24, 2008, at 10:41 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:03 a.m.

ST. ALBANS, Maine — The lawsuit filed against the town earlier this year by resident Gary Jordan Sr., and later denied, has been approved for appeal to the state supreme court.

Jordan’s attorney, Norman Toffolon of Machias, filed the appeal on Oct. 2 and the law court approved the retrial on Oct. 15. The appeal will likely be heard sometime in January 2009.

Jordan has sued the town and spent tens of thousands of dollars fighting an eminent domain issue that is a decade old.

This latest appeal is rooted in a lawsuit that maintains that selectmen and then-Town Manager Larry Post engaged in misconduct by misleading voters about eminent domain and that the town failed to pay him the money owed for the land it ultimately seized.

“I’m not doing this just for me,” Jordan said Friday. “I’m doing this for anyone in the state of Maine who has a land dispute with a municipality. They took my land and they lied. That is just plain wrong.”

Jordan acknowledged that his crusade has destroyed his family and his finances but that he feels obligated to follow it through. He said every accusation he has made about the town’s conduct can be backed up by public documents.

He partially bases his claim on a letter from the current board of selectmen to him dated January 2008, in which the board admitted that “most” of Jordan’s concerns about the eminent domain action had been addressed.

“But not all,” Jordan said.

His lawsuit this summer was denied in September by Justice Joseph Jabar with the notation “motion denied,” but no explanation of why the judge made that decision. Toffolon filed a motion on Sept. 19, asked for findings of fact and conclusions regarding Jabar’s verdict, but has not received a reply.

Because there was a time limit within which an appeal could be filed, Toffolon filed the appeal without the judge’s reply. He cites “abuse of discretion on the part of the justice for declining to conduct a hearing.”

Jordan maintains that he is entitled to not only a hearing on the facts, but an explanation of Jabar’s denial.

Meanwhile, tensions are high on both sides of the issue.

Sparks flew at a recent selectmen’s meeting when two former selectmen spoke about the court case and Jordan attempted to speak out during the public access portion of the meeting. Jordan was threatened with police action if he did not stop speaking.

“They had no right to treat me that way,” Jordan said. He said he was only attempting to present an affidavit that explained why the town’s documentation in the case was in error.

“I have never fabricated anything. I have written documentation for every charge I have made,” he said.

bdnpittsfield@verizon.net

487-3187

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