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Michaud Land Deal Enigma Deepens

By: David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, June 1, 2011

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine—New information on the land sale of the Michaud estate to Stev Rogeski has raised more questions than previously thought to be asked.

For the past three years, the town of Fort Fairfield had been granting waivers of foreclosure to the land, which is the site of a former junk yard and automobile shop, for fear of contaminated soil. Back taxes had accrued in excess of $7,000 on property that essentially was deemed uncollectible.

When local businessman, Stev Rogeski purchased the land, the town noted it was willing to grant a full property tax abatement and release all liens and foreclosure in exchange for cleanup and improvement of the property. The intent was to provide an incentive to clean up the property by razing the former garage, cleaning up the huge tire pile behind it and assuming the risk on any potential contamination of land. What few people knew is that Rogeski only purchased a 1.34 acre parcel of land that contained the house and garage, but does not contain the former junk yard location behind it and only a portion of the tire pile. The land where the former junk yard sat is owned by A&T Investments and has been since 1990. It is managed by Tom Flannery in Portland, Maine, who was the former owner from 1988 to 1990. Prior to that it was owned by Roger Flannery. The former junk yard and a portion of the tire pile is not now and never was a part of the Michaud property, estate, or its subsequent land sale to Rogeski.

This means the Town of Fort Fairfield was granting foreclosure waivers on the land that contained the house and garage only, not the junkyard and tire pile as was previously understood by townspeople. As such, Rogeski is not legally required to clean up those areas because they do not sit on the property he purchased.

Fort Fairfield town council chairman, David McCrea was asked if he or the town council was aware of the limited exposure the Michaud property had with relation to the former junk yard when they opted to waive foreclosure over the past three years, but no comment was forthcoming.

“I used to drive by Michaud’s garage and while it was in bad shape, I just said, ‘there’s old Lawrence’s garage,’” said one Fort Fairfield inhabitant. “Now that the building is torn down and we can see the tire pile out back, I think it looks worse than before.”

Rogeski told the Fort Fairfield Journal that the currently existing tire pile sits on both his property and A&T’s property and that there are no current plans to remove them. “The DEP has said there isn’t a problem with leaving the tires there and if we moved them a plan would have to be in place to do so,” said Rogeski. “My prospective tenant doesn’t mind that the tire pile is there so I currently have no plans to move it.”

Rogeski also said any moving of tires or dirt near the pond would require an extensive plan with the DEP which is not financially feasible at this time.

While the tire pile may not be moved, Rogeski says he is still exploring options on what to do with it, but for now it will remain where it is.



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