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San Pedro landowners try to settle dispute

John Grief (Tropic Air)

John Grief (Tropic Air)

John Grief
(Tropic Air)

Thursday, July 3, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: The San Pedro-based airline Tropic Air, has had to halt a $6 million project for an airplane maintenance complex near the municipal airstrip because of a dispute over who owns the land on which the unfinished building is located.

Tropic Air has a lease issued since 2008 for the 300 by 60-foot plot of land but due to human error at the Lands Department, their lease was canceled because another lease and later a title was granted to Construction Depot Limited, owned by Brett Feinstein of the Benny’s Group of Companies.

This was despite Tropic Air agreeing to adjust their boundary by about five feet from where Construction Depot’s land starts.

Facing losses of up to $2 million from construction which had already commenced last December, Tropic Air and Construction Depot counter-sued each other in the Supreme Court.

Godfrey Smith (Attorney)

Godfrey Smith
(Attorney)

The case was called before Justice Michelle Arana and after meeting in chambers the two sides appeared willing to work out a settlement. But the question remains: who is at fault for the dispute?

Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith preferred not to comment, focusing on the importance of settling the issue without resorting to the courts.

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay

Rival Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay advanced the cautious view that the airline does share a bit of blame by going beyond its boundary line, but likewise believes that settlement is on the horizon.

Both Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega and area representative and Minister responsible for Civil Aviation Manuel Heredia, Jr., have sought to have the dispute settled without resorting to court.

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