Fill pile arbitration hearing will not be public
FAIRFIELD — The pending arbitration hearing between Julian Enterprises and the town will not be open to the public, but the town’s legal counsel is planning to hire a court reporter to later disclose the meeting’s content.
“(The arbitration hearing) will not happen in public session,” First Selectman Mike Tetreau said on Monday, referring to what the town’s legal counsel had told him regarding the ongoing legal case with Julian Enterprises.
The arbitration hearing, typically closed-door affairs according to Town Attorney Stanton Lesser, is currently scheduled for June 6-7. A former Connecticut Superior Court judge from 1988 to 2011, Judge Elaine Gordon, was selected as the arbitrator for the hearing.
Tetreau noted he and the other two selectmen — Ed Bateson and Chris Tymniak — could sit in for any of the June 6-7 sessions.
With the arbitration slated to be private, the town counsel hasn’t yet hired a court reporter — someone who types a verbatim record of court proceedings — but “that is the plan” according to Tetreau. Content of the hearing would eventually be disclosed to the public.
The Board of Selectmen had scheduled a private executive session with the town attorney April 24 for an update on the pending litigation but was postponed to the following week.
The ongoing legal back and forth between the town and the property management company dates back to May 2017, when the town sued for breach of contract, claiming Julian had not reduced the amount of construction debris at the Richard White Way fill pile.
Shortly after the town filed its lawsuit, Julian countersued for defamation.
Both lawsuits were withdrawn in November in order to head toward an arbitration hearing, a move that garnered pushback at the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance level.
The town motioned to restore the case back to docket in Jan. 28 but was turned down a week later by Judge Barbara Ellis. The arbitration hearing was rescheduled for the summer.
The hearing isn’t the only thing concerning the town and the construction company; a criminal investigation undertaken by Fairfield police is eyeing activity at the fill pile since July 2017.
The criminal investigation was sparked after police received complaints from town residents about the volume of material at the fill pile and the excessive truck traffic traveling in the beach area, according to Police Chief Chris Lyddy.
If the investigation were to merit probable cause, police said, a warrant application would be submitted to the State’s Attorney’s Office for review.