A US judge in the Western Pennsylvania bankruptcy court wants to know if the new owner of Conneaut Lake Park may have violated his purchase contract.
In March, Keldon Holdings LLC purchased Conneaut Lake Park from the Conneaut Lake Park trustees for $ 1.2 million in a proceeding approved by the U.S. bankruptcy court before Judge Jeffery Deller. The Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park were the nonprofit company that oversaw the operations of the amusement park.
The court’s approval of the sale required continued public access to park ownership. Some parts of the property have deed restrictions requiring it to be open to the general public. The assets sold include the amusement park and its rides, the water park, the beach, the Conneaut hotel, the Camperland campground and all active leases on assets such as the hotel and the water system of the Park.
However, a joint letter dated September 14 sent to US bankruptcy court by seven residents of Conneaut Lake Park alleges breaches of the purchase contract by Keldon.
The letter alleges that Todd Joseph, owner Keldon, “violated the spirit and intent of the bankruptcy agreement. He’s tearing up the park, selling the rides and ignoring the demands passed on by the court.”
Keldon began making major changes halfway through the amusement park after his purchase of the property in March.
The dilapidated buildings were moved from Comstock Street in the southeast to the lakeside promenade. The deteriorated pavement, a large wooden stage that overlooked the lake and trees halfway were also removed, creating a large open space for festivals.
Residents – Gloria Novak, Judie Hartung, Larry Hartung, Carol Anderson, Rhonda Jacoby, Gerald Baldwin and Shaunet Baldwin – also allege problems with water services and street repairs.
“We have no one to call. There is no phone number on the bills or a local office to contact,” the letter from the residents read.
The seven residents also allege that Joseph restricted access to their home by erecting fences across the rights-of-way, compromising safety.
On September 20, Deller set a hearing for October 19 (i.e. next week) and also ordered that all responses be filed with the court by October 12.
A second letter, dated September 30, was sent by the seven residents to the court.
In addition, Patricia Hutton, founder of the Conneaut Lake Park Preservation Fund, sent a September 24 letter to the US bankruptcy court, also alleging violations of building demolition and removal of amusement rides.
The inaction of Keldon and the Conneaut Lake Park trustees resulted in a new order from Judge Deller on Friday.
âOctober 12, 2021 went without a written response. The silence begs the question, is anyone on board the proverbial ship for the Reorganized Debtor (Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park) and / or Keldon Holdings, LLC? “Deller wrote.
Deller’s order requires the trustees of Conneaut Lake Park and Keldon Holdings to file detailed written responses to the allegations contained in the letters to the court.
The directors and Keldon’s responses are as follows:
â1. Deal accurately with the merits (both factual and legal) of the allegations;
“3. Be filed electronically with the Court no later than 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, October 18, 2021.”
Lawyers for Keldon and the trustees are scheduled to appear via Zoom on Tuesday for a hearing on the matter.
“Failure to comply with this order will result in the imposition of penalties, including, without limitation, financial penalties,” Deller ordered.
Lawyers for the Conneaut Lake Park and Keldon Holdings trustees, as well as Joseph, did not respond to the Tribune’s request for comment.
Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at [email protected]