Letter

printed 09/14/2018

Editor,

A letter of thanks and explanation….

There are many that I would like to thank. First, Vicki Magin of Ocean Pines who, one year ago, launched the petition to save the Rapoport Property and the Dumsers’ business location at the Boardwalk and S. Division Streets in Ocean City. Diane Whittington, also of Ocean Pines, has been an integral part of this effort.

Their energy and ongoing dedication to this cause is remarkable. It was six months after launching the petition that I got to meet them for the first time to express my gratitude for their extraordinary effort.

Finally, to the thousands upon thousands who have signed the petition, voiced their opinions and written words of encouragement, my appreciation is without measure.

Nathan’s Associates and the Town of Ocean City have been involved in a lawsuit for almost two and a half years … a suit initiated because of a letter from the attorney for the town in May, 2016 that ordered us to vacate the premises by Sept. 19, 2016 with no compensation whatsoever. At that time, this property had been in our family for 104 years.

The case went to trial in April 2017. The trial was delayed by two weeks, but we were not given the reason for the delay. We assumed that it had been delayed because of the illness of the judge. At 8:30 a.m. on the morning of trial we were notified of a change of judge — to one who had retired a number of years prior.

The judge who would now hear our case had been the attorney representing the Town of Ocean City in the 1970s. This came as a complete surprise and left me wondering how a judge who had represented Ocean City for many years could now be the one who would decide this case.

Many have made statements directed to Ocean City to the effect of — please don’t tear it down. Shame on those who would tear it down … and those people are right on point. It is the direct result of Ocean City’s attempt to take our property that has put our building at risk.

It was the decision of the judge who said, in his opinion, that the building be torn down, because he held that the city held no interest in the building. We made a motion asking that his decision be stayed until we had a chance to file our appeal. He turned it down.

We then made a second motion, which was also turned down.

After these two turn-downs, we were able to file our appeal with the Court of Special Appeals in Annapolis, and the Court of Special Appeals granted our motion to put a stay on the judge’s order until the appeal is decided. Oral argument is scheduled in November. If we do not win on appeal, per the judge’s order, our building will be destroyed.

This is not the first time that the city had attempted a like action. It tried this same maneuver 27 years ago. That suit filed against us was based upon a claim that was patently untrue. Ocean City lost the case, but that did not stop it from trying this again in 2016. As of now, we have 106 years of continuous ownership and have just completed the 107th summer season. The longevity of our family’s possession and control of this property, and our relationship with this town and Worcester County mean too much to me to allow myself to be bullied in this fashion.

Right is right and wrong is wrong.

Thank you again for your continued support as we continue this fight.

Mona Strauss

Ocean City

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