Water turned back on at Tahoe Keys Marina
On Friday afternoon running water was restored to Tahoe Keys Marina — but the legal battle with the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association is not over yet.
Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association, which owns and operates the water company, cut off the water to the independently-owned marina on Wednesday, July 12, due to alleged unpaid bills totaling $80,000.
The water shutoff forced the closure of The Fresh Ketch restaurant and its deli, displaced several residential tenants, and left a handful of companies without working bathrooms for over two weeks.
“The marina worked out a deal directly with the property owners association to restore the water service while the case is pending. So water service was restored this afternoon,” said Michael Matuska, attorney for the marina, on Friday.
Details of this agreement were not released, and association’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
According to Matuska, The Fresh Ketch should be reopening soon, as early as Saturday, and the tenants have been notified that they can return to their apartments.
“The case is pending, but rather than deposit a bond with the court they elected to make an arrangement directly with the property owners to restore service while the case is pending,” explained Matuska.
The marina has gone before a judge three times requesting the water be turned back on, but was denied all three times.
Most recently at a hearing on July 27, El Dorado County Judge Suzanne Kingsbury told Tahoe Keys Marina that she would instruct the association to turn back on the water at the marina if the company posted the cash amount in dispute or a $250,000 bond.
This was after she denied their request to have the water turned back on, with no money posted, based on the existence of an alleged credit that the marina said they have with TKPOA. This credit, they said, should have gone toward the payment of the water bill.
The details surrounding the credit are murky.
The marina’s attorney Michael Matuska said that there was a non-written agreement in 2009 between the marina and the association that allowed Tahoe Keys property owners to launch a “limited class of boat” free of charge. In exchange, said Matuska, The association would handle weed control in the marina without charge.
Matuska alleged that property owners launched boats of commercial size for free, which should have been charged a fee of $250, while the association continued to bill the marina for weed control. When the marina asked for a credit for the money that went to weed control to be put toward water usage, the request was denied, according to Matuska.
In response, association attorney Michael Rounds said that there was never anything in the agreement about the size of the crafts, and that this alleged credit is unrelated to the water bill. He said the agreement with the boats and weed control is another matter entirely, describing the argument as a “red herring.”
Ultimately, Judge Kingsbury agreed.
“The issue seems to be a moving target,” said Kingsbury, referring to previous arguments made by the marina in court that the bill was paid, and now the new topic of an agreement on boat launching and weed control.
Though the water may be turned back on, the legal battle is just beginning.
At the July 27 court appearance a tentative court date was set for Thursday, Aug. 3, to discuss having the water turned back on. Matuska said they will file to have this hearing canceled, but the case over the water bill will continue on a yet-to-be-determined date.