Documents regarding a consent agreement between the town of Tremont, Maine, and the owners of Acadia Wilderness Lodge have been released per court order and show that attorneys for both parties were working together out of the public eye to settle a violation before it had been issued, according to the Mount Desert Islander.
On July 8, Judge Michael Duddy, settling a Freedom of Access Act request made by Concerned Tremont Residents (CTR), ruled on the release of a number of emails and documents regarding the consent agreement between the town and James and Kenya Hopkins, owners of the Acadia Wilderness Lodge campground.
The emails, consisting of several communications between the legal counsel of both parties, showed that attorneys for the town and Acadia Wilderness Lodge worked together on the consent agreement, as well as a notice of violation for the Hopkinses. Emails show that the consent agreement was drafted before it was discussed in an executive session and before the notice of violation was issued to the Hopkinses.
In an email from Hamilton to Collier on April 4, Hamilton provided drafts for both the consent agreement and the notice of violation.
Collier edited and revised Hamilton’s drafts into what became the final drafts of each document.
The notice of violation was not issued to the Hopkinses until April 26 and mentions the possibility of entering into a consent agreement to resolve the violations. That agreement had already been written.
“The Town will then consider entering into an Administrative Consent Agreement with you to confirm final resolution of the above-stated violation,” said the notice of violation to the Hopkinses dated April 26, and signed by current CEO John Larson.
According to the notice of violation, the inspection of the property when the violations were noticed took place on April 25, but emails between the attorneys show that the consent agreement was written weeks before.
In an email from Collier to Hamilton on April 12, it is mentioned that CEO Larson will actually have to agree to and sign the notice of violation that had been drafted by the attorneys.
“By the way, Mr. Larson still has to agree to all of this as he signs off on it,” said Collier to Hamilton in an email.