Liberty Aviation getting boat back

Legal battle between museum and Treasure Cove Marina ongoing
Tom Jackson
Apr 12, 2014
The legal battle between Liberty Aviation Museum and Treasure Cove Marina will continue, but at least the museum is getting its PT boat back.
 
On Friday, attorneys for the two combatants reached a deal. The museum agreed to post about $122,000 to an account in the Ottawa County Clerk of Court’s office — the amount of money that the marina claims the museum owes it.
 
In return, the lien on the boat will be released, so the museum can take it back within a few days. The craft is a patrol torpedo boat, similar to the PT boat that President John F. Kennedy and Sandusky war hero Leonard J. Thom served on during World War II.

Ottawa County Common Pleas Court Judge Bruce Winters approved the order.

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“Both of those guys consented to the judgment entry, so I signed,” Winters said.

The money will be held in the account until the case is resolved.

In another development, Winters said he’s recusing himself from the case. The Ohio Supreme Court will appoint a judge from outside Ottawa County to take over.

A new judge should be named within a week, Winters said.

The judge said he had been involved in prior litigation with one of the parties and took the step for “appearance of impropriety reasons”

Ed Patrick, CEO of Liberty Aviation Museum, said he immediately deposited the required money and plans to take possession of the boat within days. Once the boat is removed, it will be taken to a temporary storage facility and the museum will try to figure out what needs to be done to complete its restoration, he said.

“We would like to get the boat completed so we can salvage some of the summer,” he said. “We’ll complete it in-house. We’ll subcontract some of the work out”

The museum would like to obtain revenue by offering boat rides this summer.

Treasure Cove Marina sued the museum last week, alleging the museum failed to pay $121,811.83 in bills. The museum filed a counterclaim this week, alleging fraud and double-billing and claiming the marina owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the museum.

Despite his reservations over Treasure Cove’s accounting methods, Patrick said he acknowledges much of the work carried out on the boat was well done.

Jeffrey Kocian, the Westlake attorney representing Liberty Aviation Museum, said the two sides will be engaged in discovery for some time, exchanging records back and forth.

If the dispute can’t be resolved, the two sides will go to trial, Kocian said.

James Reinheimer, Treasure Cove’s attorney, did not return a phone call seeking comment.