Grand Manor Condo owners lose lawsuit against City of Lowell

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

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One of this week’s most outrageous reports comes from the state of Massachusetts.

Back in 1983, the City of Lowell sold land on Willard Street to a developer.  That land was formerly a quarry pit, and then a dump for more than a decade, before it was closed in the 1950s.

In 2008, hazardous chemicals were discovered on the property of Grand Manor Condominiums. The City began its clean up effort, which is still ongoing. The City does not dispute that the site was formerly a dump, nor does it deny the presence of chemicals that are known carcinogens.

Lowell officials admit that buyers have never been told about the past history of the land where Grand Manor was constructed. So they entered into a purchase or lease without any notion that living in Grand Manor could be hazardous to their health.

After several years of attempting to work with the City of Lowell to clean up the hazardous conditions, with no resolution, condo owners filed suit in 2012. It was an attempt to recover lost value in their properties. Experts for the plaintiffs estimate that property values have been reduced by $79,000 per unit.

With 40 units, the potential loss to the City of Lowell would be in the millions.

But the City’s defense attorneys successfully argued that the condo owners’ filed their lawsuit too late – state law allows only three years to file a lawsuit following initial discovery of contamination.

For that reason, a jury decided that the City is not liable to reimburse condo owners for their practically worthless units.

The condo owners are devastated, and plan to appeal the case.

 

City of Lowell prevails in suit brought by Grand Manor Condo Association

“I’m shocked,” former unit owner Edward Bullock said outside the courtroom after hearing the verdict.

“Forty families have lived through hell and our credit is ruined. So much for the American Dream,” said Bullock, one of the original unit owners who sold his unit about five years in a “short sale” at a drastically reduced price after the contamination was discovered.

Unit owner Ellsworth J. Evans Jr. told The Sun, “This verdict is devastating.”

He said the city had a moral obligation to compensate the unit owners after the city used the old quarry pit at 175 Willard St. as a dump in the 1940s and 1950s, before closing it in 1954.

The city sold the land to Dracut developer Anthony Katsikas in 1983 for $20,000 to build the Grand Manor condo development two years later, according to old newspaper articles from The Sun. Katsikas died in 2007.

Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/breakingnews/ci_30050102/city-lowell-prevails-suit-brought-by-grand-manor#ixzz4CYX6t0jx

 

 

Here’s the back story, previously reported

Millions at stake in Lowell condos’ suit against city over devalued property
By Lisa Redmond, lredmond@lowellsun.com

Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/breakingnews/ci_30019857/millions-at-stake-lowell-condos-suit-against-city#ixzz4Bh3SrD2E

Grand Manor v. city of Lowell goes to the jury
By Lisa Redmond, lredmond@lowellsun.com
Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/news/ci_30043979/grand-manor-v-city-lowell-goes-jury#ixzz4CMFSUOTo

 

 


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