As a part of a continuing effort to protect the taxpayers of Ocean City, representatives from Ocean City Fairness in Taxes have secured documents from the city through the state Open Public Records Act (OPRA) regarding the Klause property purchase for 9 million dollars.
Documents clearly show an alarmingly close relationship between Ocean City and Jerry Klause, one of the owners’ of the property.
Despite public statements of Mayor Gillian and Jerry Klause regarding the development of coastal cottages on the property, an email indicates that both parties realized that the Planning Board application for 29 coastal cottages would not be covered by the March, 2017 court order.
In an email dated February 5, 2018 between city solicitor Dottie McCrosson and Jerry Klause regarding the land purchase, Jerry Klause states the following:
Even though he hasn’t yet, John (Flood) will pull out of the Martin Prince application negating our TOA (time of application) ruling of the Planning Board application rendering a valuation of the land as Coastal Cottages moot.
Clearly, Jerry Klause knew that the court order would not apply to his 29 coastal cottage application even though publicly he states the opposite. Email is attached.
City of Ocean City allowed Jerry Klause direct access to a city appraiser in order to express his “methodology” on how to value his property.
In an email dated February 5, 2018, Jerry Klause advises city solicitor Dottie McCrosson of the following:
I had a conversation with Tony from Integra last week. He understood my methodology.
The seller of the land should not be talking to the buyer’s appraiser on how to assign a value to the property. The city appraiser should be representing the interest of the taxpayer and not that of the seller. Email is attached.
The city furnished a development plan from Klause Enterprises to a city appraiser in order to assist with assigning a value to the property. This plan was not approved or reviewed by any city board. The city simply accepted the sellers plan for 29 coastal cottages as valid without any review to determine if it complies with city development laws and regulations. A March 6, 2018 email has the city sending the unapproved development plans to the appraiser to assist in the valuation process. Email is attached.
Inconsistent with state law, Ocean City solicitor Dottie McCrossen conducted official city business with Klause Enterprises on her private law firm server.
The only reason FIT obtained the documents is the email was copied or “cc” to a city employee who had an official municipal email address. This begs the question what other taxpayer business does the city solicitor conduct with this unofficial email address that is not subject to OPRA review.
How many more emails are there between city solicitor Dottie McCrosson and Jerry Klause that remain hidden on her private law firm server?
Please look under documents to see the referenced emails in entirety.