SELECTMEN NEWS: Town’s Purchase Of Ristuccia Arena Remains On Ice Due To Legal Dispute

WILMINGTON, MA — At Monday night’s Board of Selectmen Meeting, Town Manager Jeff Hull provided an update on the status of litigation involving the Ristuccia Arena and the town’s efforts to acquire the property.  It wasn’t great news.

“Unfortunately, there has been no meaningful progress to report with respect to the litigation,” wrote Hull in a memo he verbally summarized to the board.

The Town, however, will be notified if and when there’s any movement between the two sides.

“The Town has been successful in obtaining intervenor status in the litigation which established the Town of Wilmington as party to the litigation,” explained Hull.  “As such, the Town would be a party to any settlement discussions. There was been no indication on the part of Rotondo Enterprises or Bernard Ristuccia that they are interested in entering into settlement discussions.”

Hull provided an uncertain timeline towards a potential resolution.

“The original projection for the duration of this case suggested the case could conclude with a court decision around the same time the current lease expires which is August of 2018,” said Hull. “It should be noted, however, that the original time projection was just that and offered no guarantee that the case would be concluded by a date certain.”

At a December 2014 Special Town Meeting, residents overwhelmingly (391 to 7) approved authorizing the Board of Selectmen to spend up to $2.25 million to acquire Ristuccia Arena. Residents also supported establishing an enterprise fund into which receipts for the rink would be deposited and from which expenses related to the rink would be paid.

The plans hit a snag in May 2015, however, when Rotondo Enterprises, the lessee of the rink, took Bernard Ristuccia, the rink’s owner, to court, claiming Rotondo Enterprises had “the right of first offer” to purchase the rink and match any potential offer from the town.  The dispute over this clause in the contract has been tied up in Middlesex Superior Court ever since.

“It’s obviously not prudent to be discussing any sort of litigation or strategies in public session,” said Selectwoman Judy O’Connell at Monday night’s meeting.  “I’d just offer, prior to my departure from the board, that [my colleagues] consider discussing this matter at any appropriate time as the Manager deems necessary in Executive Session so they can keep moving forward with this…”

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