MetroParks, resident locked in dispute

An ongoing land dispute between Erie MetroParks officials and a local resident heated up this past week.
Andy Ouriel
Oct 12, 2013
Park commissioners authorized locking up a shed packed with hunting equipment at the Joseph Steinen Wildlife Area off Cleveland Road. Erie MetroParks owns the property and previously leased shed space and land to the West Huron Youth Club.

Club members, along with about 15 children, discovered park officials changed the shed’s locks when showing up to hunt on a recent weekend. The equipment — used for archery, shooting and fishing — belongs to the West Huron Youth Club.

“They are wrong,” said East Perkins Avenue resident Gil Steinen, who oversees club activities.

In 2004, Steinen sold the 376 acres for $2.25 million to Erie MetroParks.

Steinen is entangled in his second lawsuit with Erie MetroParks, alleging park employees abused a land agreement involving the wildlife area. In fall 2010, the park district settled a previous land dispute brought upon by Steinen in an agreement discussed in an Erie County courtroom.

“I don’t know what their motivation is,” Steinen said. “It appalls me that they’re taking this out on the youth when their vengeance should be with me.”

District officials voided the lease after youth club members supposedly violated rules. Erie MetroParks commissioner Kurt Landefeld and executive director Amy Bowman-Moore said Steinen and club members breached a contract by:

• Announcing a hunt would occur between September and March, without receiving written consent.

• Attempting to form a committee to combat the district.

• Not responding to numerous requests to talk about these problems.

“After the requested deadline (to talk) had passed, we voted to terminate the lease and instructed Amy to change the lock on the building,” Landefeld said. “We are not denying the West Huron Youth Club its right to exist or to conduct its activities. It just cannot do so in our building or on our property.”

Steinen said he’ll continue to fight Erie MetroParks and expose their “misdeeds.”

“How could we possibly violate the lease?” Steinen said. “It’s retaliation for us informing the public on their mismanagement and expenditures of tax dollars.”

Steinen is referring to MetroParks spending about $1.2 million in tax dollars on various lawsuits since 1995.

Comments

cracked

metro parks = tax money to make land off limits.

Sandusksquach

2.5 mil in mismanagement

yea right

sounds like metro parks are a bunch of cry babies..then they lock up someone elses property?? i would call the police and charge rec-a-park with theft

Centauri

"Steinen said he’ll continue to fight Erie MetroParks and expose their “misdeeds.”

“How could we possibly violate the lease?” Steinen said. “It’s retaliation for us informing the public on their mismanagement and expenditures of tax dollars.”

Corrupt Erie County (OHIO) powers that be have an unlimited supply of public money from the tax payers for attorneys to fight any citizen who stands up against them.

Centauri

"After the requested deadline (to talk) had passed, we voted to terminate the lease and instructed Amy to change the lock on the building,” Landefeld said. “We are not denying the West Huron Youth Club its right to exist or to conduct its activities. It just cannot do so in OUR building or on OUR property.”

Don't they mean the tax payers property?

I would like to see a copy of that lease.

Capt. Ford

What example does this set for any one else in the Steinen family situation? You provide a piece of property with some minor requests regarding use and access, and your wishes are ignored at best and directly challenged.

cracked

Deny children a place to meet.The whole reason they exist is to preserve the land.Why are they preserving land? FOR THE CHILDREN !!!
But they don't want the kids there.stupid stupid tree hugging dorks.

2Timothy1-7

I am not a fan of Metro Parks bureaucracy, BUT the fact is Mr. Steinen SOLD this acreage to Metro Parks for $2.25 MILLION or about $7,000 an acre in 2004. Mr. Steinen received $2.25 million from the taxpayers for his former land and probably some significant tax benefits as well.

One would think that somebody who sells land worth millions is sophisticated enough to understand contracts. It sounds to me like there is a breach in the contract that needs to be worked out.

That said, I sure hope Metro Parks doesn't hire some outside attorneys (who are motivated to create litigation) but uses the services of the County prosecutor's civil division (no charge) to settle the dispute and clear up any misunderstandings with the contract(s).

Finally if it does turn out to be retaliation for exposing misconduct, then by all means seek to have them charged with retaliation RC 2921.05 or sue them civilly.

Professor Playdoh's picture
Professor Playdoh

Gil sold the land with an agreement on how the land would be used. He could have sold it to developers for 10 times what he got.

Sandusksquach

No he could not, and he was in debt.

sorryhog

Metro Parks is a rip Off. People should wake up.

JERRY from SANDUSKY

This is one reason why we should sell the parks...
another is to get some money for sales of parks
Sandusky city parks need to do the same
look at the parks on Columbus and Monroe you cant lay around touch football or anything else so sell it would be good location for eateries or a business of some kind.......

Centauri

"It just cannot do so in OUR building or on OUR property.”

The arrogance of the Erie MetroParks staff shows. They consider themselves public servants but look down on citizens as if the citizens were ants and promptly step on them and crush them with their shoes. This does appear to be a good example of retaliation and intimidation.

Just wait until these arrogant public servants ask for a tax levy renewal or additional levy. It's for the park they will say, it's for the kids but in reality, it is money for their legal fund to pay for attorneys to take land away from private citizens or to ignore a legal document such as that land agreement.

Looking back, I will wager that Steinen regrets ever selling that land to Erie Metropark and the arrogant people who run the Metroparks as they see fit for their personal agendas. I can only wonder how many thousands of dollars Steinmen had to spend of his own money for legal fees.

Vote NO to any future Erie Metroparks levy. Defund their source of funds for attorneys.

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...
"Erie MetroParks and the Steinen family have buried the hatchet on a long-running dispute over land the family shifted to the park system for hunting and other activities."

"Steinen long argued that the park district's leaders weren't following terms of an agreement governing the Joseph Steinen Wildlife Area, the 370-acre preserve Steinen partially sold and partially donated to Erie MetroParks."

"Gil Steinen said he donated the land years ago to the park system to ensure its preservation and perpetual care."

"Steinen said the property was valued at $20 million; he essentially donated millions of dollars worth of land to the park system."

http://westhuronyouthclub.com/co...

http://dev.sanduskyregister.com/...
"New MetroParks commissioner a familiar face"

Julie R.

Pertaining to the link "New MetroParks commissioner a familiar face" --- I'm still curious to know why the common pleas court judge Roger Binette appointed Randy Glovinsky to be a park commisioner when a probate court judge is supposed to do that. Even in (corrupt) Cuyahoga County, it's the probate court judge that appoints the park commissioners. Didn't the probate court judge Beverly McGookey appoint the first arrogant MetroParks commissioners --- the ones that the new park commissioners are blaming for costing the taxpayers 3.2. million? Oh wait, sorry .... McGookey didn't originally appoint them .... the probate court judge before her did. McGookey instead RE-APPOINTED them. Didn't she ignore a petition signed by over 400 people NOT to re-appoint them?

So once again, why did Binette appoint Glovinsky to be a MetroParks commissioner --- wasn't McGookey supposed to do that?

SamAdams

The lease language and/or conditions of sale documents should be clear in this regard. If they're not, then the problem lies entirely elsewhere and negotiations will probably have to start from scratch. But if they ARE, then it should be easy enough to forget about "talk" and cut to the chase to enforce whatever the agreement may have been.

But given the past history of Erie MetroParks and its illegal land grabs and high-handed treatment of the people who PAY THEIR SALARIES, I'm not inclined to side with anybody on THAT side at this point!

Sandusksquach

The agreement is clear. Steinem has no claim to the land.

SamAdams

Agreed. But what about the portion of the agreement that references Steinem's tenants (the club)? THAT'S the point at issue here, apparently. What is Erie MetroParks' agreement concerning the land use by the club?

Nemesis

Steinen had to be pretty naive to believe that the Metroparks would honor an agreement that fostered a politically incorrect activity like hunting.