BANGOR – A Superior Court judge this week awarded the city more than $101,000 in damages in its lawsuit against Bangor Packet & Steamship Co., an affiliate of the Sea Dog Brewing Co. Justice Jeffrey L. Hjelm, in his order filed Monday in Penobscot County Superior Court, awarded the city $101,971.96 in damages, $1,672.56 in attorney’s fees plus interest. The order was granted after Bangor Packet & Steamship, which reportedly has no assets, defaulted in the case.
In 1998, the city and the company signed a lease and option to purchase the River Dog, a 65-foot cruise boat that operated on the Penobscot River for 1998 and 1999.
The city lent the company $50,000 to help lease the boat. The company repaid only about $2,000 on the loan, City Solicitor Norm Heitmann said in an earlier interview, adding that with interest, the amount owed is now up to $52,000. Last year, Bangor Packet decided not to operate the vessel, so the city repaired it and ran river cruises for part of the 1999 season, losing a considerable amount of money because of the abbreviated season.
In a related case, a U.S. District Court Judge in October granted the city the right to sell the River Dog in order to recoup the estimated $30,000 spent on maintaining the boat.
The vessel, formerly known as the Liberty Belle, belongs to the Florida-based Marine Transportation Inc., but has been in the city’s possession since a lease with the company expired last year.
The boat is set to go to auction on Dec. 15 in Belfast.
A federal judge must agree to the sale price before the boat can change hands.
Any amount over the estimated $30,000 claimed by the city would be forwarded to the boat’s owner.
City officials earlier had explored selling the boat, but rejected the one $92,000 bid submitted by a Bangor businessman.
The City Council also had the option to purchase the boat for $108,000, but declined.