Ala. Campground Meter Matter Prompts Suit
A man has filed a lawsuit against the town of Riverside, Ala., the mayor and the town council seeking more than $90,000 in damages, according to Daily Home Online – Talladega, Ala.
Attorney Charles Robinson Jr. filed the suit in St. Clair County Circuit Court on behalf of his client, Danny Mitchell, owner of Mitchell’s Paradise Campground, who allegedly lost business because of actions by the city, mayor and council.
The lawsuit, filed last week, seeks both punitive and compensatory damages.
The lawsuit alleges the city and its representatives breached a contract between the two parties, interfered with the everyday business operation of the campground, committed fraud and were negligent in their actions.
The suit alleges Mayor Rusty Jessup offered to give Mitchell’s campground water meters for individual campsites, if Mitchell would install the infrastructure for the camp’s water system using his own materials and labor.
Under the alleged agreement, each campground resident would pay an $85 deposit and $50 connection fee, which would be paid to Riverside. In addition, Riverside would take over ownership of the water system one year after it was in place.
“Mitchell relied on the representations from the mayor and others by his action, and as a result of such reliance, he complied with the offer to the fullest and the city provided him the water meters,” the lawsuit states.
In May, Jessup and the city attorney met with Mitchell.
The suit alleges that at the meeting Mitchell was informed that a council member filed a complaint with the Alabama attorney general’s office against the mayor regarding the water meters, and Mitchell needed to give the water meters back to the city.
The lawsuit states that it was against a 2006 city ordinance to have the water meters without paying $400 per meter.
“Mitchell has 27 water meters that are being used by residents and cannot be removed without great disruption in the residents’ water,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit also alleges there are “numerous other campers without water because the city of Riverside will not make new connections until the court decides this matter.”
Jessup responded to the lawsuit on Sept. 7.
“Based on the information we were working with at the time, we made a decision to do business with Mitchell’s campground in a manner that we felt was good for business and good for the city of Riverside,” Jessup said. “We later found out that the arrangement we made with the campground was not in compliance with the new water ordinance the city had passed a few months earlier.
“We felt, after several conversations with the attorney general’s office and our city attorney, that we had to require the campground to comply with the ordinance. Obviously, they disagreed with our position. At this point, we must let the court decide the matter.”