TREMONT — Taxpayers here will spend at least $10,000 for legal expenses associated with the December 2013 fire that destroyed Cap’n Nemo’s restaurant.
Half of that amount, $5,000, is the deductible the town has to pay to defend a federal lawsuit brought by the couple who owned Cap’n Nemo’s, Robert and Judy Cousins. Like many municipalities, the town has insurance for legal matters through the Maine Municipal Association Risk Pool.
The other $5,000 in expenses is the deductible for the defense of Fire Chief Keith Higgins in a protection-from-harassment order sought by one of the town’s former volunteer firefighters, who sided with the owners of Cap’n Nemo’s in their allegations against the fire department.
Sarah MacQuinn, 33, of Southwest Harbor filed her complaint for protection for harassment in Ellsworth District Court on Sept. 2, 2014. At an Oct. 8 hearing, Judge Bruce Mallonee dismissed the complaint because MacQuinn failed to substantiate her claims as required by state law.
In her complaint, MacQuinn alleged she was being harassed by Higgins and others because of comments she made to town officials and Bob and Judy Cousins about her belief that the fire department “let the building burn down due to personal prejudices.”
MacQuinn further alleged that Higgins “almost” hit her car while both were driving on a bridge and that he refused “to acknowledge my young daughter in parades.” She claimed Higgins failed to act when she reported to him that another firefighter made “a threat on my life.”
On Friday, Town Manager Dana Reed said he didn’t know the total of the attorney bills submitted to the risk pool for defending Higgins and the fire department.