A.D. Makepeace disputes Town of Wareham’s lawsuit regarding Parker Mills Dam, Selectmen respond

Aug 10, 2018

The following is a response from the A.D. Makepeace Co. regarding the Town of Wareham’s decision to file a lawsuit to determine ownership of the Parker Mills Dam. The Board of Selectmen’s response is below.

To the Editor:

We were surprised and dismayed to read in the local newspapers that the Town of Wareham has decided to file suit against the A.D. Makepeace Company.

We have spoken to the Town and its counsel on numerous occasions regarding this ownership dispute. They have been advised on more than one occasion that our review of the facts shows that the dam is owned by the Town. We agree that this issue must be resolved, and to that end, we had suggested that we enter into a mutually-acceptable form of expedited mediation or arbitration to quickly come to resolution. We thought the Town agreed with this approach. Mediation would be far less costly to the Town than a lawsuit would be, and we find it surprising that amid school closings and talk of debt exclusions, the Town would select a more expensive vehicle.

Selectman Peter Teitelbaum was quoted as saying that he does not expect the lawsuit to affect the “fairly amicable relationship” between the A.D. Makepeace Company and the Town. We’re not aware of the relationship being anything other than entirely amicable to this point. Perhaps as an attorney, Mr. Teitelbaum has a different perception of lawsuits, but most of us view them as contentious. The genuinely amicable solution would have been to work together with an independent third party to determine ownership through expedited mediation.

We concur that this matter needs to be resolved. We thoroughly disagree with the idea that a costly and protracted lawsuit could somehow be the best approach.


Linda Burke

Vice President of Marketing & Communications,

A.D. Makepeace Co.

Selectmen's response

To the Editor:

The litigation is purely a business decision to ascertain who should bear the likely seven figure cost to repair to the Parker Mills dam. Makepeace has summarily claimed that it has no responsibility. The case involves ownership issues. The Town long ago amicably provided Makepeace with a copy of an expert title report which shows that Makepeace bears the primary responsibility for repair.

In exchange, Makepeace repeatedly promised to give the Town a copy of its title report supporting its position, but none has ever been provided. It is hoped that one will be forthcoming now that the Town has been compelled to take this regrettable step. Of course all doors will remain open to discussion when Makepeace can document the basis for its denial and share that documentation with the Town.

Richard Bowen, Esq.

Town Counsel