Jesse from Cranston writes with some news, predictions, and opinions on the Cranston scene:
Just wanted to remind you that the city council will be taking up Emilio’s resolution on the $1.9 m proposed payment to Cullion. I’m sure many people will want to attend this meeting.
Here’s a news flash for you: The school committee has issued a letter to the City Council requesting $3.8 million in additional funding, and formally threatening a Caruolo action if the city does not comply. People will probably hear about this for the first time Monday night, as the ProJo generally does not print local news on Mondays — so now you have a scoop.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the school board’s letter is talked about on Monday. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Council tries to discuss 1.) the $1.9 million figure and how it was reached; 2.) the supposed $4 million cost of further litigation; and 3.) the potential for officially declaring the permit invalid and going to Superior Court for summary judgment. This would leave Cullion with no permit, worthless land, and no settlement.
Here’s the potential information that could come to light:
1.) The $1.9 is incorrectly based on an assessment that assumes an industrial use — which the land is not zoned for. Assessing the land based on open space would lower that figure substantially, and such a move has precedent in a recent state case in North Kingstown. One issue here is, the assessments were discussed in executive session (as allowed under Open Meeting Law exemptions for litigation), and the city lawyers may object to discussing them publicly.
2.) The $4 million was Judge Weisberger’s estimate. Considering how rarely judges agree, this figure is somewhat suspect, and I feel, quite misleading.
3.) Council President Garabedian previously said at a public meeting last March that he thought the mayor didn’t have the authority to withdraw the permit, based on reviewing only local zoning statutes. But looking strictly at the City Charter and state law, he may be ready to admit that his earlier assessment was wrong and support a new tack by the Council.
And now, a final bit of opinion…
Given the fact that the city has so many judgments hanging over it — the Prov Water deal, the Valley settlement, and the Caruolo suit — it makes little financial sense to fork over nearly $2 million to a company that got an illegal permit in the first place. Going to court based on the Charter and state law would result in a comparably quick decision, since it would go to Superior Court for summary judgment. In cases like that, the sides stipulate to a set of facts (as opposed to arguing over them), and the judge makes a ruling. I’m not sure what the precedent is for appeals of these decisions.
And for those wondering about Kmareka’s technical difficulties, we have finally put to death the mighty spam monster from hell, but it appears that our database may have lost a few functions in the process, which may mean starting a new database. For now, comments are back open.