Portland Co. Wins Interest Battle With City of Portland; City Says He Didn’t Get All Sprague Wanted

By Carol McCracken (Post # 857)

“There are no winners here,” said Phin Sprague, Jr., manager of the Portland Company Complex, when he heard the news that the City of Portland had failed in its efforts to avoid paying interest rates in the recent lawsuit it lost against the Portland Company. The long-drawn out lawsuit, filed by Portland Company was over the taking of an easement, by the City, belonging to Portland Company for about $5,000. The 52 ft. wide easement is located between the Portland Company and the sewer pumping station.

This morning the Superior Court issued an Order on (Docket No. RE-05-85) the “remaining dispute” saying that the Portland Company was indeed entitled to most of the interest money during this long and drawn-out lawsuit. However, Justice Thomas D. Warren did say that the Portland Company was not due interest during about 853 days during which the Portland Company pursued other “unsuccessful claims” in the same lawsuit.

The 52 ft. wide easement dates back to when the Portland Company and the Atlantic & St. Lawrence Railroad were created at 58 Fore Street. The Portland Company was built there to supply the locomotives and related items for the railroad; that was in 1847 said Phin Sprague, Jr. this morning.

Sprague, who offered the city the easement in exchange for an opportunity to expand as close to the Maine State Pier as he could, said: “this is a failure to do what I wanted to do – expand my marina and the SailMaine program as well” – a non-profit sailing program for children and adults as well on his property.

“The money we spent on lawyers we could have used to expand to the west. We wanted to do stuff that’s good for the city and expand the working waterfront and get good paying jobs. A yacht is probably one of the best ways of transferring the wealth that exists. The more yachts we have in Portland, the more good jobs there are in Portland.”

Gary Wood, corporation counsel, said: “…that my general impression is that it (the order) substantially reduces the amount of pre-judgment interested claimed by Mr. Sprague, but I am awaiting a calculation on that issue by our finance office and our outside counsel both of whom didn’t receive a copy until late this afternoon.” (See above left photo of Gary Wood.)