Great Falls Republic Mill 2 getting litigious

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By The Staff

We don’t think anybody could have been surprised the town of Great Falls has gone to court to stop the sale of the Republic Mill No. 2. eeBut even we are scratching our heads a little at some of the turns the issue has taken up to this point.

Great Falls Town Attorney Brian Grier pulled out of the issue, citing the fact that a senior partner in his law firm, Milton Hamilton, has represented the Chester County Forfeited Land Commission for years, including the matter of the sale of the mill to a Virginia man.

So Great Falls has had to go to an outside law firm to handle the case.ee But Hamilton himself later withdrew as the commission’s lawyer, in this case, which means the commission had to hire outside lawyers to represent it in the suit brought by the town.ee

On Aug. 18, Chester County Council voted to intervene in the case, on the side of the town, against the commission. The only bright spot we can see in this latest development is County Attorney Joanie Winters won’t have to withdraw and the county, at least, won’t have to spend money on extra counsel.eeThis is an age in which the Supreme Court had to decide a presidential election for us. And don’t you think, quite frankly, it’s getting a little bit ridiculous? ee

Public policy is supposed to be decided by the people we elect with advice from a lawyer. The courts are not supposed to be the answer to everything.

eeThe sides here have what they believe to be positions from which they can’t budge in good conscience. eeThis ought to be a simple property transfer.

The town of Great Falls was initially pleased with the proposal made by the Virginia man. A better offer came along later, but there is a term for that – seller’s remorse. eeIs seller’s remorse by itself reason to go back on a promise? We understand that much of the Forfeited Land Commission’s position.

eeBut it is also plainly obvious the commission did a poor job vetting this potential buyer. A quickly done background check on the buyer and his brother, who was presented as a partner to County Council, showed a lot of problems.

Admittedly, most were on the part of the brother, who is now out of the project.ee Why did it take a person outside county government to do the background check in the first place? eeIt’s amazing that after it has already reached this stage, both the initial buyer and the later proposer still want to buy this mill.eeNow, Chester County has a bunch of old ruins at its old mills, and just one is still standing. It’s a prize to many, a historical site to some who want to cherish that part of our past.ee

Then on Monday night, Chester County Council voted to join the Town of Great Falls in the lawsuit against the Forfeited Land Commission.

It’s embarrassing to our country, in general that we go to the courts to decide public policy.ee It’s more embarrassing that it is happening here. ee


From Chester News & Reporter, a sister paper to The Lancaster News.