EDITORIAL: The Cost of Lawsuits

April 1, 2013

Last week somebody posted the following notice on the Cape Charles Post Office telephone pole:



So far our town of Cape Charles has 

spent $76,386.01 of your money for

attorney’s fees to respond to the lawsuit 

from Old School Cape Charles.

You and every other town resident will

pay for this foolish lawsuit!!!

Ask the Wave . . . why they didn’t 

publish this!

So far, no one has asked the WAVE — but if they did we would refer them to our March 4 analysis, where we wrote: Records show that since July 1 of last year, the Town has spent almost $64,000 on the [Old School lawsuits].

There were legal costs prior to July 1, so the anonymous telephone poll poster probably got it right: total attorney fees of $76,386 and, to be precise, one penny.

If the unknown informant had wanted that fact circulated to the most possible people, he or she could have written a letter to the editor at the WAVE. We would have published it. (Of course, that would have required the writer to have the courage to identify himself.)

But there was even another way: send it for publication in the ANONYMOUS section of the WAVE. We would have published that as well.

Regardless, the unknown writer raises a salient, if unintended, point: why does the Town of Cape Charles, with a population of 1,000, spend so much money on lawyers?

The $76,000 is not the total cost for Old School legal fees. As the WAVE has reported, the Town paid its own attorney $15,000 just to review the contract to convey the Old School to a developer for a price of $10.

That should make the Guinness World Records:  legal costs were 1,500 times the sales price.

Worse, Town Council proceeded to ignore the Town attorney’s advice to require a performance bond and a buyback option in the contract. So if the developers fail to carry out their plan to convert the school and parkland into a 17-unit apartment building, there is no penalty, and nothing the Town can do about it.

Except, perhaps, sue. And at what cost?

The $15,000 legal fee also seems money badly spent considering that the Town attorney failed to raise a red flag over language in the contract stating that Purchaser shall not operate the Project as a low-income housing facility under any state or federal program. That got the Town in hot water with fair housing advocates and, as a result, state legislators. After the building was already sold, the Town revised the contract to drop the offending language.

So, adding the $15,000 fee to review the Old School contract to the $76,000 to answer the lawsuit brings the legal cost to the taxpayer to $91,000. [Read more…]


FRIDAY/SATURDAY 4/5-6: Annual Blessing of the Fleet at Cape Charles Harbor

The Town of Cape Charles 6th Annual Blessing of the Fleet begins Friday, April 5 at 5:30 p.m. [Read more…]

LINDEMAN: Help Our Accomack Neighbors Fight Arson

Cape Charles Wave

March 28, 2013

Since mid-November, 74 arsons in Accomack County have been recorded. Investigators are trying desperately to find the person or persons responsible and have recently announced an award of up to $5,000 for information leading to the capture of the arsonist(s) from the Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators (http://www.vaiaai.com).

Since these fires have been widespread, fighting the blazes has involved many local volunteer fire departments throughout the county –- departments with limited funds to respond to the extraordinary number of calls.

These blazes have stressed many of Accomack’s volunteer fire and rescue personnel to the point where they are running out of supplies and the budget to replace them. To date, these brave men and women have logged 3,700 hours fighting these fires.

How can we help? I asked Billie Jean Miles at the Accomack County Department of Public Safety. Below is the information she sent me.

Volunteer! There are fifteen volunteer fire & rescue stations located in Accomack County. A complete list with contact information can be found at http://www.acdps.net/page/volunteer-fire-and-rescue.

There are various ways one could volunteer and not necessarily be a firefighter and/or EMS provider. Maybe you have some extra time to help clean equipment or fire hoses, assist with one of their upcoming fundraisers, staff the rehab unit, or provide administrative support. Contact your local station to see how you could make a difference.

Give! An account has been established for monetary donations. All donations are tax-deductible. Donations can be dropped off at any Shore Bank location or mailed to Shore Bank (c/o Accomack Firefighter’s Assistance Fund), P.O. Box 920, Onley VA 23418. [Read more…]

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USS Missouri Gun Barrel Leaving Town

Gun barrel on its way to Cape Charles last year. (USFWS photo)

Gun barrel on its way to Cape Charles last year. (USFWS photo)

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

March 28, 2013

The USS Missouri gun barrel is leaving town, moving April 1 to the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge in Kiptopeke.

The barrel has sat in the Bay Coast Rail Yard in Cape Charles for the past year. It will depart the rail yard about 9:30 a.m. Monday and will take about two hours to travel the 12-mile route on Highway 13.

Once at the refuge, the barrel will be restored and put on permanent display.

The 16”/50 Caliber Mark VII gun barrel (#393) was on the USS Missouri at the time of the signing of the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.

The barrel weighs 120 tons and is similar to the barrel which was in the bunker at the former Fort John Custis, now part of the Wildlife Refuge. [Read more…]

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SATURDAY 3/30: Easter Egg Hunts and Party

Families are invited to attend several holiday-related events Saturday, March 30. [Read more…]

FRIDAY 3/29: ‘Single Malt Scotch Whisky’ at ESCC

The Science and Philosophy Seminar of the Eastern Shore of Virginia will present “Single Malt Scotch Whisky.” 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 29, in the Eastern Shore Community College lecture hall, 29300 Lankford Hwy, Melfa. [Read more…]

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SHORE THING: One Lucky Dog

"Lucky" -- also affectionately known as "Mayor of Cape Charles."

“Lucky” — also affectionately known as “Mayor of Cape Charles.”

Cape Charles Wave

March 25, 2013

My wife and I are walkers (and joggers of a sort), and a big attraction of the Historic District is its walkability. So, most mornings for the past couple of years we have been “making our rounds.”

First we head to the beach, then out to the end of the pier, thence up Front Street (Mason Avenue, but I’m trying to sound like a local), left on Peach, then through Central Park, continuing on Monroe past Fig, all the way to Bahama Road (reachable from Monroe by foot but not by car).

From there we cross Lake Foster, approaching the gated community of Jellybean Village. And since what happens from that point possibly involves illegal activity, I’ll just conclude by saying that eventually we wind up back in the Historic District.

That’s a generic description of our “rounds,” which might run in the opposite direction the next day, and which also might entail detours, side paths, and shortcuts.

It’s a good way to meet people – and dogs (and cats).

In the people category, we’ve made a good friend who makes his rounds much more faithfully than we. But unlike us, he never varies his route. Visit the Natural Area Preserve behind the WACO building any morning (and I do mean any morning, rain or shine) and you’ll likely see him coming or going.

In the dog category, we’ve met any number. I consider myself very much a “dog person,” so I feel some jealousy that, invariably, any dog we encounter ignores me in favor of getting attention from my wife. She greets them, compliments them, and rubs them. Of course they like her! [Read more…]


E.W. ‘Zoot’ Richardson, Bridge-Tunnel Police Officer 40 Years

March 25, 2013

Edward Wilton “Zoot” Richardson, 81, husband of Audrey C. Richardson and a resident of Cape Charles, passed away Monday, March 25, at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital.

A graveside service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, March 29, at the Capeville Masonic Cemetery with the Rev. Jeff Conrow officiating.

A native of Capeville, Mr. Richardson was the son of the late Wilton Richardson and Marymerle Custis Richardson. He retired after 40 years of service as a police officer with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel and was a member of Lower Northampton Baptist Church. [Read more…]