Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced today that he is forwarding money collected on behalf of the Town of Warren to cover the Town's expenses in overseeing the removal of illegal docks on the Kickemuitt River last winter and spring.
The funds were sent to Solicitor Anthony DeSisto today for deposit into the Town treasury. The monies were obtained from the foreclosure of the land of Thomas Koolen, who had installed the docks in attempt to start an unpermitted marina. This brings the case to a full close. The docks were removed earlier this year.
The amount sent is $7,356.48. This, combined with prior payments of $200, fully compensates the Town for its expense in guarding over and cleaning up a particular threat to the environment and public safety – the docks on the Kickemuitt River.
In July of 2011, Thomas Koolen had installed over 100 floats off of his Warren property without a Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) permit. When Koolen failed to obey a CRMC order to remove the floats from his property, CRMC instituted suit in the fall of 2011. In the meantime, the docks began to run astray and threatened boaters.
When Koolen filed for bankruptcy in an attempt to stop the proceedings against him in State court, Attorney General Kilmartin joined with CRMC in filing a lawsuit. The Attorney General's Office successfully argued that the State court action against Koolen was exempt from bankruptcy.
"We wanted to prevent a misuse of the Federal Bankruptcy process and Mr. Koolen's attempt to continue an unlawful environmental hazard," said Kilmartin. "It is rare that public expenditures and outlays of this nature are fully compensated by the wrong-doer. Environmental clean-ups are rarely fully reimbursed. I am particularly pleased that the funds do not come from the taxpayers -- local, State or Federal."
On December 2, 2011, a Superior Court judge found the Defendant in willful contempt of a prior court order by failing to remove the docks. Then, on April 3 2012, the Judge ordered Koolen incarcerated at the ACI. Eventually, Koolen removed the docks but not before the Town police and harbormaster had incurred costs supervising the situation.
Kilmartin thanked the Town, the CRMC and the non-profit Clean-the-Bay organization for their assistance in solving the problem.