Campground Whistleblower’s Allegations Being Investigated

Effingham—April 14, 2024—Last October, Ossipee Lake Camping Area employee-turned-whistleblower Martin Casey went public with what he claimed were environmental and zoning violations at the Leavitt Bay business.

Six months later his allegations are being investigated in Effingham and in Concord, including by the N.H. Department of Justice.

In an October 4 letter, Casey said the business was burning hazardous materials on the shorefront, and was expanding campsites beyond its zoning approvals. He further alleged that fill from the Meena LLC gas station construction site was spread on the campground’s beach and playground, and unlicensed workers were performing electrical work.

Casey said he participated in many of the alleged activities during the six years he lived at the campground, where he worked as a groundskeeper.

“To those who feel I did wrong, you’re absolutely right,” he posted online after going public with his claims.

“I did exactly what I was told to do.”

The investigations are in various stages of progress, according to state and local officials, and no charges have been filed. Robert Kline, one of the campground’s owners, did not respond to a request last week to comment on the investigations.

Unlicensed Electric Work
Casey said he was one of several unlicensed individuals who performed electric work at the business with the owners’ approval, and that an Eversource employee signed off on the work knowing it was unlicensed.

That allegation is in the hands of the State Attorney General’s Office, where it was forwarded in January after being reviewed by the Deputy State Fire Marshal and the Chief Electrical Inspector of the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office said last week that “At this point the case is under review by the New Hampshire Department of Justice to determine appropriate next steps.”

Gas Station Fill
In November, campground co-owner Kline confirmed Casey’s claim that the business accepted fill from the Meena gas station site, but said he and manager Mark Garland were assured it was safe.

The soil transfer appears to have been permissible under state law, since DES does not restrict the removal of soil from a contaminated site if the owner says the fill is not from where the contamination was documented.

Still unresolved, however, is Casey’s claim that using the fill on the campground’s beach violated DES’s Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act and its associated rules. Kline said he had a permit to replenish the beach, but the state has not confirmed it.

DES acknowledged receipt of Casey’s complaint after being asked about it on November 27. It responded to a second request for information on January 22 to say that their review was being delayed by unfilled compliance positions in its Subsurface Bureau.

The agency did not respond to a March 28 email request for an update for this article.

Toxic Burning
Effingham Fire Chief J.T. Harmon responded to Casey’s pictures and video of the alleged burning of toxic materials, and accompanied him on a site visit to document his findings.

Harmon told Ossipee Lake Alliance in November that the business owners were “advised to cease burning illegal materials,” but said he could not comment further because the situation was “considered an ongoing law enforcement issue.”

The Fire Chief did not respond to a February 29 email asking about the status of the investigation, and the Alliance filed a public records request for the information on March 21. The request was acknowledged on March 25 but there has been no further response from the town.

Zoning Irregularities
Effingham Zoning Officer Rebecca Boyden visited the site shortly after Casey said the business was expanding its campsites beyond what was approved. Since then, however, her investigation has been stymied by incomplete or missing town records.

The Planning Board twice approved an increase in the number of campsites, in 2012 and again in 2019. As part of the 2012 approval, the owners were required to submit an “as-built” design document when the work was completed, but the town has been unable to locate it.

During a public hearing for the 2019 expansion, the Planning Board waived the town’s requirement that the site plan show “all structures on and within 200 feet of the site” after the applicant said it would be a burden to do so.

After meeting with the campground’s owners in October, Boyden recommended that the business provide an as-built plan for the entire property so that compliance with the two expansion approvals could be determined.

In response to a March 1 request to Planning Board Chair George Bull for information on the status of that recommendation, Bull said “Any requirement to submit paperwork to the Planning Board after a Site Plan was approved would be the purview of the Select Board,” adding that the Zoning Officer would be the person to speak with.

Boyden responded to say that establishing the existence of a document that was required by the Planning Board as a condition of a site plan approval is a Planning Board function, not a zoning enforcement activity.

In a March 22 update, the town said the business is “cooperating fully” in submitting a unified site plan.

1 comment

  1. Steve 1 month ago April 15, 2024

    Aside from alleged violations, misplaced, lost or missing documents takes a suspect turn with a rank odor.


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