I believe a serious injustice has been done to the residents and taxpayers of the town of North Kingstown, one that was completely avoidable.
On Monday, June 18, three members of our Town Council voted to expose all North Kingstown taxpayers to a $10-million lawsuit. This is after a federal judge mediated a settlement agreement that would have avoided any exposure to this lawsuit.
A federally mediated settlement agreement was reached involving our town solicitor, the Interlocal Trust’s attorney, the attorney we chose to represent us in this case, a federal judge, our town manager, the plaintiff, Mr. Hawkins, and his attorney. The vote on June 18 was to support this agreement and further avoid exposure to this lawsuit and settle the Rolling Greens matter once and for all.
Instead, Mr. Maloney, Mr. Welch and Ms. Waxman voted to not uphold the federally negotiated settlement agreement in defiance of the court’s request. Their decision moves the burden of further litigation away from a handful of abutters and places the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of all taxpayers to bear the financial burden of this lawsuit. Was that fair or responsible to all of us? Did it follow the mission of our council to protect us from this type of exposure? I strongly suggest that their action violated your trust in our council and failed to uphold their responsibility as councilors to protect us against these types of lawsuits.
I could not believe the action of this council. Both Doreen Costa and myself pleaded with this council not to do this and stated why it was so wrong to take this course of action. This is a very serious matter that should not have been burdened onto the taxpayers.
It’s high time for all us to stand up to this lunacy and say enough is enough. The action of these three councilors supports a very small minority of special interests who are so vehemently opposed to a project that offers a great deal of benefit to our community – a project vetted over eight years that has almost unanimous support from the Planning Department, Planning Commission and now a federal court. Such defiance will not go unnoticed by the courts.
Tell your councilors who perpetrated this misdeed to fix it and do it soon so we can avoid further exposure to this very serious lawsuit.
The author is a member of the North Kingstown Town Council.