Pa. Park Owner Jailed Until Tenants Move
The owner of Moon Meadows Campground near Erie, Pa., is in jail on contempt of court charges. He kept his campground open almost a year after a judge ordered it closed, WICU-TV, Erie, reported.
Judge Shad Connelly says the owner will stay in jail until all of his tenants have moved out, and some have lived at the campground for years.
Denise Hamling is one of those tenants. She doesn't know what she will do. She worked at Presque Isle Downs this past racing season and lives at a cabin at Moon Meadows Campground. She usually leaves Moon Meadows to work at a race track in Florida during the winter. This year, she decided to stay because of her 11-year old daughter.
"She loves it here," Hamling said. "She's on the swim team at the YMCA. She's an honor student at Wattsburg Elementary. She's on the honor roll. She just got in touch with the Gifted and Talented program. She loves it here."
Now, Denise must break the news to her daughter that they may have to move back to Florida. The family has to move somewhere because campground owner Thomas Peckham is jailed for contempt of court. Peckham refused to close the campground after Connelly ordered he do so almost one year ago for water and sewer violations.
Connelly says the longer the tenants stay at the campground, the longer Peckham stays in jail.
"It's heartbreaking," says Hamling. "It's heartbreaking for me and my family, and for Tom. There's a lot of people who live here or have lived here. We rely on this place and we feel comfortable here."
Denise just found a new job here as a YMCA swim coach and lifeguard. But, she has a definite place to stay in Florida. She has a tough decision to make, and an emotional discussion ahead with her daughter.
"She's a fifth-grader. She didn't want to move anymore. I've been doing the same track thing for quite a long time. I told her a few years ago, 'If you get tired of moving every six months, I'll stop.' She said that recently and so I said , 'OK, we'll stay."'
Now, as a man waits in jail, and a mother may have to go back on her word.
The judge also ordered Peckham to pay $100 for each day the campground remained open after his order. That fine totals $35,000.