May 23, 2019

St. Albans dispute over land appealed

ST. ALBANS – It has been more than seven years since the town of St. Albans took a portion of Gary Jordan’s land to expand Town Landing Road, yet the town continues to be embroiled in legal battles over the action.

Jordan sued several times, and after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling earlier this month that upheld the eminent domain action approved at an annual town meeting, Jordan has filed an appeal.

“I’ve spent $100,000 of my own money on this and, if I have to, I will take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Jordan said in a recent interview.

“This is an absolute abuse of power,” Jordan said. He maintained that his appeal will succeed because in its ruling, the Judicial Court said the land was taken to solve a title dispute.

“Never in the seven years that this has been going on have I ever heard the words ‘title dispute,'” Jordan said. To back his contention, he produced a letter from Town Manager Larry Post dated August 2000 that stated exactly who owned the property. “The [town] had two deeds that further clarified the ownership,” Jordan said.

“I have continuously questioned the location of the land and the use thereof, but never questioned the title,” he added.

Because Jordan has appealed the Judicial Court’s decision, town officials maintain they cannot discuss the issue, a stand they have held for years, and a position that got Jordan in a little hot water last week.

At an Aug. 21 selectmen’s meeting, Jordan began discussing the eminent domain issue during the public forum of the meeting, a move that officials have become used to since Jordan is at nearly every selectmen’s meeting and raises the eminent domain issue each time.

According to a transcript of the meeting created by planning board chairman Dennis Smith and provided by Jordan, Chairman Curt Lombard told Jordan that the board could not continue the discussion because it was under litigation.

Jordan continued to speak even after being asked to take a seat, but when threatened with removal by the police, Jordan left.

He claimed, however, that once he was gone, the board continued discussion of the eminent domain action.

Lombard said this weekend that no such discussion took place. He said that Post explained to the selectmen that the reasons for Jordan’s comments were the same reasons for the litigation.

“We did not comment further,” Lombard said, because the issue is again before the court. “There is absolutely nothing the board can do about his continued allegations.”

Selectman Perley Martin agreed. “The town manager read the court’s finding. That’s all,” Martin said this weekend.

“At every meeting, Mr. Jordan repeatedly brings us the same issue: eminent domain,” Martin said. “I feel like he is harassing the selectmen and interfering with town business.” He said that some residents are frightened by Jordan’s aggressiveness.

Martin said the issue “has been to the highest courts and they have found in our favor. Mr. Jordan wants us to reopen a can of worms. Why would the selectmen want to reconsider if the courts have already decided?”

“If we have talked once about an issue and we’ve taken action, it is repetitive, not productive to continue discussions and we need to move on.”

Correction: This article appeared on page B3 in the State and Coastal editions.

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