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HomeNewsArchivesGOVERNMENT FOUND IN CONTEMPT OVER MON BIJOU

GOVERNMENT FOUND IN CONTEMPT OVER MON BIJOU

July 25, 2003 – Residents of Estate Mon Bijou should soon breathe easier as a result of a recent court order compelling the government to make repairs to the community's drainage systems that have long caused stinky sewage overflows and flooding.
Territorial Judge Edgar D. Ross found the local government in contempt of court on July 2 for failing to comply with a 1986 District Court order and a 1998 Territorial Court order to make repairs and pay damages to some Mon Bijou residents.
The order made several stipulations, including one that requires the Public Works Department to clear Mon Bijou drains of all debris and vegetation by next Wednesday.
Richard Hunter, an attorney representing 15 Mon Bijou residents, said Public Works has sent some prisoners out to do the cleanup work. "We're monitoring what they do and don't do," he said.
Ross also ordered that Hunter's clients be paid, with accrued interest, by the end of October. They have been waiting for payment since Ross's last order, in 1998, but Hunter said he is hopeful the government will follow through this time.
Hunter said the new order name those responsible for ensuring that it is carried out — stating, for example, that Attorney General Iver Stridiron "shall assure compliance with this provision."
"Judge Ross said he wanted names in here because he wants to know who to throw in jail if it's not completed," Hunter said of the order. "That's what he said."
The government is supposed to pay for damages incurred over the last 20 years, with interest. That could total about $350,000, Hunter said.
Ross instructed Stridiron to set up a special bank account for funding a flood control project for Mon Bijou by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Funds existing for the project amount to more than $1.3 million, and the work should begin by next June at the latest.
The judge allotted up to $5,000 this year and next for monitoring and enforcement fees assessed by Hunter and engineer Roger Currier while the order is being carried out. Ross will hold a status hearing in November, the order said.

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