Aberdeen faces lawsuit

Fixing the potholes in the Castle Villa Mobile Home Park is the Village of Aberdeen’s responsibility, according to a lawsuit filed by the park in the Brown County Court of Common Pleas.

The owners of Castle Villa Mobile Home Park are suing the Village of Aberdeen.

James and Homer Castle, owners of the Castle Villa Mobile Home Park, are suing the Village of Aberdeen, its council members and the village administration.

The Castles allege in their lawsuit that the village committed a breach of contract against the mobile home park. The Castles are asking for a jury trial and for damage relief in excess of $125,000.

In the complaint filed on June 17 in the Brown County Court of Common Pleas, the Castles allege, through their lawyer, John Caldwell, that the village broke not only a signed contract with them, but also broke promises to them made in good faith.

Caldwell did not return multiple calls to his office for comment by press time. When contacted, Aberdeen Solicitor David Grimes declined to make a statement. Aberdeen Mayor Jason Phillips and Administrator Delbert Hester also did not respond to multiple phone calls.

The Castle brothers claim that in 1996, they accepted a proposal to annex the mobile home park into the village, despite initially opposing such a move. The village, they claim, needed to use the land to supply water and sewer lines for a factory that never ended up being built.

In addition to the 1992 agreement to be annexed into Aberdeen, which was finalized four years later, the Castles allege there was an “additional agreement” between the brothers and the village that gave the mobile home park three free water meters, free access to the village’s sewer line and trash collection, and the assurances that the village would maintain the mobile home park’s streets and lights.

In exchange, the Castles agreed to shut down their own air-o-flow sewer plant and three water wells from which the mobile home park drew water, according to court documents.

The agreement was signed by the Castle brothers, then-Aberdeen Mayor David Barbour, and then-clerk Barbara Caudill, according to a copy of the 1992 contract included in the lawsuit.

According to comments made by Councilwoman Billie Eitel at Aberdeen’s May village council meeting as reported in the Ledger Independent, that agreement allegedly became void because the Castles did not update their roads to village standards, as well as allegedly not conforming their mobile home frontages to appropriate length, among other requests from the village.

The mobile home park received free water, sewer and trash pick up until 2015, when the current village council consisting of Eitel, Jim Perraut, Bill Wilson, Jeannie Combess, as well as Phillips and Hester, began to start charging Castle for trash, water, and sewer services, the paper reported.

The Castles allege they have had to pay $300 in utility deposits with $80 in utility payments per month, on top of $600 per month since February in water and sewage expenses to the village. The Castles also allege the village has stopped maintaining the roads, leading to the creation of beach-ball-sized potholes within the mobile home park.

In addition to the bills and alleged inaction in repairing the mobile home park’s roads and lights, the Castles are asking for defamation, slander and libel relief, after James Castle was discussed in regular session of the January, February, March, and May Aberdeen Village Council meetings.

There is also the request for relief from malice and aggravated and egregious conduct from the defendants, as well as punitive damages and attorney fees.

The Castles have asked for the Brown County Sheriff’s Office to serve the lawsuit to the defendants during the Aberdeen Village Council meeting on July 6, which begins at 6:30 p.m.