OWLS HEAD, Maine — The new conservator for an Owls Head man whose oceanfront home was sold by the state for less than half its value has asked the court to void the sale.
Pamela Vose filed the complaint this week in Knox County Superior Court on behalf of William Dean Jr. The court complaint claims that James Peter Taylor, who bought Dean’s property, knew he was acquiring it well below fair market value in contradiction with state law concerning the disposition of property for someone who is under a conservatorship.
Taylor bought the property on Jan. 9 for $205,000. The town had assessed the property at $476,840.
This lawsuit is separate from the one filed in May by Dean’s sister, who claimed the state improperly sold the house, auctioned off personal belongings and had Dean’s cat euthanized while he was a ward of the state.
A Bangor Daily News review earlier this year of Maine Department of Health and Human Services sales of properties belonging to people who are under their conservatorship showed a pattern of land and belongings being sold well below their assessed values.
In the lawsuit filed this week, Vose claims that Taylor — a commercial builder — was familiar with real estate transactions and the values of properties in Owls Head. The lawsuit points out that state law requires a court order if a sale of a person’s property under state conservatorship is less than fair market value.
Because of his job, Taylor was aware that the sale was for less than fair market value, the lawsuit states.
Owls Head performed an adjustment of property values townwide this summer and the new value of the 9 Castlewood Lane property is $478,450.
Taylor could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Vose is represented by attorney David Jenny of Owls Head.
The lawsuit describes the Castlewood Lane property as having a panoramic 180-degree water view that includes a chain of islands along the Mussel Ridge Channel. With current zoning laws, no home can be built close to the ocean so the fact that the property had a cottage near a pebble beach made it even more valuable.
The property had been in the Dean family since 1972. The state obtained conservatorship for Dean’s finances last year after he was admitted to Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor. The state claimed it sold his Owls Head house and also tried to sell his other home in Rockland to pay off property taxes.
Family members have said, however, that the taxes could have been paid by the family and the home kept in the family.