As the eviction process at Augusta’s Riverfront Marina comes closer to an end, more and more information is coming to light regarding just how bad marina operator Mike Stacy’s relationship with the city has become.
Documents obtained by the Metro Spirit detail a culture of almost constant friction highlighted by long, rambling monthly reports Stacy submitted to the Port Authority. Stacy himself has reportedly stopped gong to the Port Authority meetings, instead using representatives to speak on his behalf.
The monthly reports, however, are leaving a lot of people scratching their heads.
The June 17, 2014 report was 57 pages of accusations, regulations that appeared to be cut and pasted into the document and copied correspondences with handwritten commentary like “Tortuous Interference” in the margins.
A letter to boat owners implies that Mobile Marine, which is being evicted in part for owing over $21,000 in rent, actually paid its $2,700 monthly rent, but that the funds were somehow diverted by the Port Authority and the Savannah Riverkeeper.
“The Marina Operator pays Port Authority $2,700 each and every month. Except, the Savannah Riverkeeper has usurped the Port Authority; There’s no accounting of it by SRK/Port Authority,” the letter states. “We still want to know what happened to the $24,000 we sent.”
Those close to the situation claim the rent is actually paid directly to the city, however.
Later, the letter seems to solicit contract extensions from the boat owners, even in the midst of the eviction proceedings.
“Duly Incorporated under law of Georgia we can authorize contract terms with Boat Owners it agrees with,” the letter says. “Perhaps you wish to discuss a lease extension or add some other desireable to the existing contract. Riverwalk and Riverfront Marina Boat Owners may now be viewed as affected 3rd party to Municipal Corruption, therefore, may have even more legal rights after we are gone.
“What the Marina is getting at is this: we honor the free will of all Boat Owners, if we go, and down the docks trots Queen SRK to provide you documents establishing throne and Boat Owners serfs; if SRK waves that paper in your face, you will have your own paper to wave in SRK face, while you says “get out of my face I have documentation reflecting my rights that must legally be addressed and resolved before we can discuss your rights.’”
However, a memorandum dated November 12, 2012, that was sent to Administrator Fred Russell from staff attorney Kenneth Bray concluded that both the Marina Operator Agreement and the Lease Agreement for the Old Georgia Ports Authority Building had lapsed.
And then there’s the May 16 judgment against Augusta Riverfront Marina for its claim that a boat owner owed $1,425 in rent. The boat owner alleges that his boat was wrongfully removed from his slip and illegally moved to an unsafe dock. He also accuses the marina operator of a breach of contract
Those are pretty serious allegations, but they’re not the only ones. Boat owners and those who use the facilities report a long history of harassment, including the recent padlocking of a dock gate during the GatorFest swim event. The dock gates are typically locked by key, but before the event a padlock was put on to prevent the use of the dock, locking out both participants along with boat owners.
With talks apparently coming to a close, Stacy should be out soon, but who is going to fill the void remains to be seen. The Port Authority is already in the process of bidding out the warehouse dock, and in spite of failures by just about every entity involved, those close to the situation are expressing tentative optimism at the direction things seem to be going.
Perhaps a new operator will be able to bring stability and civility back to Augusta’s riverfront. From the sound of it, it’s been a long time coming