Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This is going to hurt our bottom line

"The harm to my client is $1.7 million," stated James E. Kelleher.

The advertisement for the house located at 1444 Ocean Rd, near the tip of Point Judith, RI would state that it is a three-story, 2,400 sq foot home that features wonderful views of Newport and Watch Hill from the rooftop cabana that has a Jacuzzi and wet bar........ sale price $1.8 million.  By the way, we just found out that it has been built entirely on public park lands, so there may be a bit of a problem.

The tale begins in 1984, when Robert C. Lamoureux purchased property on Ocean Rd and then in 1987, hired ERA Engineering to subdivide the property into two lots.  He then in 2009, conveyed the three acre lot that is 1444 Ocean to Four Twenty Corp, a company that Lamoureux owns and is in the business of purchasing, holding, developing and selling real estate.  He applied for and was granted the permits needed to begin work on the structure and the plans and survey had been prepared by Carrigan Engineering.

It was in 2011 that Four Twenty arranged for the sale of the house and property and everything seemed to be in order until the purchaser had their own survey done on the property.  That was when the proverbial shit hit the fan............. the survey revealed that the entire house, septic system and driveway had been built on the adjacent property.  The trustees for the Rose Nulman Park Foundation were notified that instead of a quiet free public park created to honor a family member, they had a huge house.

The Rose Nulman Park was created by Saul Nulman, a New York businessman who purchased property adjacent to the Point Judith Lighthouse in 1993 to set aside a quiet place, free to the public in honor of his mother.  When he died in 2006, the property was transferred to the foundation with the directive that it continue as a park or the Foundation would face a $1.5 million dollar penalty, payable to the New York Presbyterian Hospital.  Mr Lamoureux's home certainly qualifies as not keeping with the trust as well as legally trespassing on someone else's land.

At this point, the case hit the court calender with Lamoureux explaining that basically..... it is built, why not just let me trade properties with the foundation.  On the side of the foundation, there is the legality of a large fine as well as losing what they had purchased in the first place.  I guess that Lamoureux felt as though he should be allowed to legally rectify his stealing land because he didn't bother to verify that his house was actually going to be built on his land.

Mark W Freel, the lawyer for the Foundation stated that if the court were to force them to sell Lamoureux the property that the house sits on, it would be akin to "private eminent domain.  Lamoureux tried to express how shocked he was that the survey had not been done correctly but it is difficult to understand how an experienced developer in a highly sensitive location would have missed that.

Judge Gilbert V Indeglia ruled in favor of the Nulman Foundation and while he was sympathetic to the side of the developer...... he felt that a person's right to property should not be infringed upon.  Indeglia also inquired if there were approved plans for moving the house off of the property.  Lamoureux has apparently acquired most of the permits to move the house, septic field, driveway and construct a bridge over wetlands but the group Save the Bay has filed a lawsuit to prevent the move.  They state that they have evidence that the move will damage the surrounding wetlands and Money Pond.  There will be a date set for the house to be removed from the property and if it can't be physically moved, it will have to be demolished.

My guess is that Mr Lamoureux's gamble to get a nicer view is going to trash the company bottom line this year.  It is nice to see a judge rule in favor of the injured party and not bend over because of the expenses that will be lost.

*** Update July 1 2014:

This was discovered when a potential buyer had the home surveyed by a licensed surveyor of their own.  What has been revealed is that the builder submitted the building plans that were based on a site plan which had been prepared by an engineering firm.  There was no licensed surveyor involved in preparing that site plan but the building department accepted the plan believing that there had been one involved.  While many may try and blame a surveying failure........ it is difficult to fail if you were not even involved.  It sounds as though the builder failed and maybe they just thought that they could trade off the lot for the one they were supposed to build on.  As for the home............ definitely not what I would have chosen for a "look" in that location.

Blue box shows the actual house built and the property line for the lot that it should be sitting on to the left of what has been built.

No comments: