The residents of North Mianus have settled their protracted lawsuits against the Town of Greenwich over who should pay for the installation of sewers in that area of town.
The settlement includes a $1.9 million total reduction in sewer tax assessments for about 700 property owners, who will not have to pay penalties for any unpaid sewer taxes — if they pay their overdue bills within 30 days.
The case was formally settled Jan. 24 in state Superior Court with the settlement announced by the town on Jan. 27.
Here is the announcement as released by the office of First Selectman Peter Tesei.
"Representatives of the 700 plaintiffs contesting their North Mianus sewer assessments in two lawsuits entitled Vincent R. De Fina, et al. vs. Town of Greenwich et al., docket # CV-08-4013478--S and Fred De Caro III et al. vs. Town of Greenwich, et al, docket # CV-08-40134853-S reached a settlement agreement with the Town of Greenwich to reduce the $23.123 million assessments by $1.9 million that has been concluded by a judgment entered by the State of Connecticut Superior Court on January 24, 2012.
"These lawsuits were brought in 2008 contesting the total cost of the North Mianus sewer Project, and as such, the amount of assessments that were placed on the North Mianus sewered property owners. The lawsuits claimed excess bond interest; Town liability for trunk sewers and pump costs; failure to assess Town-owned properties as well as construction mismanagement.
"The cases were referred to Frederick A. Freedman, a retired Judge of the Appellate Court of the State of Connecticut for mediation. As a result of a successful mediation the parties agreed for purposes of settlement to a $1.9 million reduction that will be recertified and applied across the board to reduce the assessments for the affected North Mianus sewered property owners.
"The settlement was made official by a stipulated judgment entered by the Superior Court. Property owners who have not been paying the full amount of their assessments under a prior ruling by Judge Kevin Tierney of the Superior Court in these cases will have the 18% interest on their unpaid assessments waived provided that they bring their assessments current within 30 days of a revised billing on arrearages that will follow the entry of judgment.
"It is therefore important that property owners with arrearages bring their assessments current within that 30 day period of the revised billing or the 18% per annum accrued interest will be reinstated on that amount as delinquent.
"For those property owners who have fully paid their assessment installments, the reduction will be applied as a credit against future assessment payments.
"The sentiment of the parties in reaching this settlement was summarized that while both parties believed in the validity of their claims and defenses thereto, the settlement was a fair compromise and will serve to save both parties further expenditure of time and costs.
"The settlement will not require a further appropriation to spend Town funds since it affects scheduled assessment payments and will not affect the bonds that were previously issued by the Town.
"Both the Plaintiffs and Defendants were represented by Counsel throughout the 3 1/2 years of pursuing this litigation, with Jack Lambert, Esq. of Bentley, Mosher, Babson & Lambert, P.C., Greenwich, representing the North Mianus Plaintiffs and Eugene McLaughlin, Esq. of The Town of Greenwich Law Department representing the Town and the Town’s Condemnation Commission.
"The six member North Mianus Sewer Oversight Committee representing the North Mianus property owners consists of Michael Petrucelli, Sam Romeo, Nick Fortunato, Peter Sherr, Fred De Caro III and Vin De Fina with able assistance from Bob Perri."