Environmental Case to Return to Court

Ossipee – January 10, 2010 – The Donald Lee case is scheduled to be back in court on Monday, January 11, at which time Judge James D. O’Neill III will consider six motions, one of which has been pending for almost three years.

Chief among the motions are two from lake property owner group Ossipee Bluffs Association asking that Lee be held in contempt for failing to submit a plan to remediate the environmental damage he caused to Ossipee Lake.

In September 2006 the court found Lee responsible for the thousands of pounds of sand and debris that filled the lake after he changed the course of the Lovell River with retaining walls. The judge ordered him to “forthwith” submit a remediation plan to DES and pay for the clean-up, which experts say could cost more than $800,000.

With no plan in place, the Bluffs group filed its first contempt motion in May 2007. A second motion was filed in August of that year, and that motion has been continued four times, most recently in October 2009 after Lee scheduled elective back surgery for October 6 despite a long-standing court date of October 9.

Last April the case, which has been ongoing since 1988, took a bizarre turn when the State Attorney General’s office authorized Lee to encumber his lake property with a $150,000 mortgage even through the Bluff’s group had a motion pending in court asking for a $675,000 lien on the property.

Real estate appraisers say that with the decline in lake property values, Lee’s property may be worth less than the estimated cost of the remediation.

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