Governor’s Island Club goes after unpaid dues at disputed property

LACONIA – The Summit Road man who has, so far, unsuccessfully waged war against the Governors Island Club since 2011 when he attempted to build a detached foundation on his property and place a cottage atop it is facing a $5,300 attachment to his property for not paying his club dues since 2011.

Richard Homsi already faces a similar attachment for about $50,000 in legal fees awarded to the club in the wake of prolonged litigation about the moribund building project.

Homsi's house and property are in Laconia; however, when he bought his home in 1999, he said he never agreed to be a member of the Governor's Island Club, which is primarily in Gilford. While he had a building permit from the city of Laconia and shoreline permits from the state Department of Environmental Services, he never received permission from the Governors Island Club to build the free-standing structure.

The GIC claims that unattached buildings are not an allowed use within its covenants.

Attorneys for GIC have argued successfully in both the Belknap County Superior Court and at the New Hampshire Supreme Court that the property has a deed restriction or restrictive covenant dating to 1992 requiring the owner of the home to be a dues-paying member of the club.

Earlier this year, Belknap County Superior Court James O'Neill ordered Homsi to remove the cement foundation he installed in anticipation of his project. After a rehearing, O'Neill reiterated his order. GIC attorney Paul Fitzgerald said Homsi appealed O'Neill's ruling to the state Supreme Court but there has been no decision yet.

The Governor's Island Club and Homsi are scheduled for a hearing about the $5,300 attachment plus legal fees in the Belknap County Superior Court today. Throughout these hearings, Homsi has been representing himself.

Endangered city oak tree expected to stay uncut at least through January

LACONIA — The Planning Board has taken the next step toward deciding the future of the venerable oak tree on Union Avenue by formally agreeing to consider the request of Cafua Management Inc. to remove the tree.
However, at the same time, the Planning Board commissioned an independent third-party review both by a traffic engineer, to determine if the tree poses a hazard, and by a professional arborist, to assess the condition of the tree. Both the traffic engineer and the professional arborist will be chosen by the Belknap County Conservation Commission, independently of either the city or the company, and compensated by Cafua Management Inc.
City Planning Director Shanna Saunders said Wednesday she anticipates the traffic engineer and arborist would submit their reports in January and the Planning Board could address the request at its meeting in February.
Meanwhile, the City Council is expected to adopt a resolution urging the Planning Board to deny the request to remove the tree and reaffirm its original requirement that “the large oak tree near the northeast corner of the property is a monumental shade tree, and as such shall be protected and maintain(ed) during and after construction” by the property owner.

Summer party melee results in four guilty pleas

LACONIA — The four people charged in a melee with Belmont Police during a family gathering on June 27 have all pleaded guilty to charges stemming from their arrests.
Jeremy Cole, 37, of Brook Road in Sanbornton was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer and resisting arrest. He pleaded guilty this week in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division to one count of misdemeanor simple assault. Cole was sentenced to 60 days in the house of corrections with all but two days suspended. The Belmont prosecutor said the two days in jail are suspended for one year based on good behavior.
Erika Cole, 34, of Brook Road in Sanbornton was charged with one count of hindering apprehension for trying to get between a police sergeant and her husband Jeremy while the sergeant was trying to arrest him. She pleaded guilty to one count of resisting arrest, said the prosecutor.
Daureen Harding, 58, of Brook Road in Sanbornton was initially charged with one count of a Class A misdemeanor of hindering apprehension for grabbing Erika Cole by the arm and pulling her away from an officer who was trying to arrest her. She pleaded guilty one Class B misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.
Frederick Scheffer, 44, of Forest Drive in Belmont, which is where the fight occurred, had been charged with one Class A misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest for getting in between the sergeant and Frederick Cole while the sergeant was trying to arrest Cole. The prosecutor said he was the only defendant to appear without a lawyer and pleaded guilty to a violation level charge of resisting arrest.
According to an eyewitness and police reports, the police were called to the home by a neighbor after two of the party guests were involved in an argument. When the first officer arrived, he found himself in the middle of a group of adults who were not happy to see him. His sergeant responded minutes later and reinforcements were called from Gilmanton, Alton, Northfield and Barnstead Police Departments.
In the course arresting the above four, Jeremy Cole was zapped by a Taser and Scheffer was sprayed with pepper spray.