On Monday, November 27th, a federal judge ruled that the former owner of Secord, Smallwood, Edenville and Sanford dams is liable for nearly $120 million in damages to the State of Michigan
An excerpt from a Bridge Magazine article states, "The $120 million in damages approved by [U.S. District Court Judge Paul] Maloney were based on 'natural resource' damage to Michigan’s fisheries and freshwater mussels, not the damage to homes and businesses or for the repair of the dams.
"The state’s attorneys said they could have documented more damages but appeared to acknowledge that getting money from Mueller would be difficult given that he filed for bankruptcy in 2020."
The State of Michigan took early emergency actions to address public safety in the community after the dam failures. There was a $15 million civil penalty from the federal government and now a $120 million judgment from the State for natural resources damages.
It is unlikely this will result in any funds to support Four Lakes restoration coming from Lee Mueller (owner of Boyce Hydro) or any of the Boyce entities that went through bankruptcy in 2020.
We understand the frustration of many property owners in the Four Lakes Special Assessment District of having to address the damages of the prior owner. We remain committed to finding funds to lower the financial burden for restoration as much as possible.
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