Ocean City Today

Meehan’s take on Dumser’s situation disputed by family

Readers' Forum
Oct 19, 2017



printed 10/20/2017



I feel compelled to publicly respond to and correct certain falsehoods made by Mayor Rick Meehan in his recent interview on WMDT Channel 47.

My grandfather was Nathan Rapoport and I have been involved with this property my entire life. For the last 105 years, our family has been in continuous possession and control of 601 S. Atlantic Avenue in Ocean City where Dumser’s Dairyland currently operates. We have built six different buildings and operated five businesses on this property over more than a century.

Mayor Meehan stated that the 1966 agreement my grandfather entered into with Ocean City was a lease. That is not correct.

Nowhere in the clear language of this agreement is the term “lease” used. There is no provision in the agreement for the payment of rent nor did our family ever pay any rent to anyone. There is no reference to “Landlord” or “Tenant” nor were there any other terms customarily included in a lease.

In the 1966 agreement, Ocean City specifically conceded that it does not own our property, so obviously Ocean City could not lease property that it does not own. The document did not contain any of the terminology required in Maryland law to be considered a lease.

The 1966 agreement clearly states the two purposes for which it was written:  (i) for my grandfather to obtain a building permit to build a new, larger building on his property; and (ii) as stated in the agreement ”to establish a basis for real estate taxes to be paid” for his property.

The 1966 agreement was entered into only to address these two specific issues. In the 1966 agreement, the city specifically conceded that our property is “on ground that the city does not claim to own in fee simple” and that phrase is the only reference to ownership appearing anywhere in the document. The mayor should stop repeatedly and falsely stating that we leased our property from Ocean City.

The other falsehood that the mayor made in the interview is that the taxpayers of Ocean City would benefit from the rent received from the building on our property. That is not possible.

Judge (Dale) Cathell clearly held that Ocean City has absolutely no rights whatsoever in our building. He also ruled that our building must be removed or demolished and, if we do not win our appeal, that is exactly what will have to happen.

Therefore, the mayor’s repeated statement that the taxpayers will ever benefit from the rent from our property is just not true. If the city wins the appeal, there will be no building on our property and there will therefore be no rent to collect.

In addition, going forward, the city will lose all of the tax revenue it has been receiving for years from both our family as property owners and from the business Dumser’s operates on our property.

Please, Mayor Meehan, stop repeating the falsehood that this action by the city is for the good of the taxpayers and the public. The public has spoken ... with 10,000+ voices in response to … and in support of Dumser’s and Nathans and this beloved landmark, the construction, existence and maintenance of which thecity has never contributed to in any manner whatsoever.

Judge Cathell had earlier denied our motion to stay (the court order). But, on Oct. 12, the Appellate Court in Annapolis granted our motion to stay his order that had required the demolition of our building. Our appeal will probably be decided upon sometime next year.

Wouldn’t this be an appropriate time for Ocean City to reconsider its actions? If we don’t win our appeal, our building will be gone, Dumser’s will be gone, and all of the tax revenue currently being generated from our property will be gone.  Mayor Meehan, how in the world does that benefit the taxpayers of Ocean City?

Mona Strauss

Nathan’s Associates

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