Riviera Beach, Maryland

Meetings are at 7pm the 1st Tuesday of every month in the basement of Jenkins Memorial Church

 

Where Bay, River & Creek Meet

Lawsuit

 

Click on the folder icon to the right to access to Lawsuit Documents Library

Lawsuit Documents Library

April 9, 2013

A settlement has been reached between RCIA and Riverbea Corporation. The recently signed consent order and judgement incorporates past opinions in the case, including Riverbea's status as trustees, responsibility to maintain the community property and ability to collect fees used to maintain the property, as well as others. In addition, Riverbea has revised their by-laws.

Some of the key points from the settlement:
1. Moving forward the residents of Riviera Beach will be entitled to vote for the board members of Riverbea.
2. Any Resident of Riviera Beach (of age etc) may run for open positions on the board of Riverbea.
3. The first election will be held September 2013 and at least one board seat shall be open. The second election will be September 2014 and at least two additional seats shall be open.
4. If their are vacancies on the board elections will be held within 90 days.
5. Term limits for board members are two years.
4. Riverbea is required to post its monthly bank account statements on their website.
5. Riverbea will publish a yearly budget which must be approved by the Residents of Riviera Beach.
6. The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County shall retain jurisdiction over this matter until after the 2014 annual meeting. Any Riviera Beach Resident may invoke the supervisory power of the court if they believe it is necessary.
7. Finally, it is over and all claims, counter claims and another 25 ways you can say it later, are the spots for everybody's signature.

It really is a very important and positive step for our community. It is not the solution but it provides two vehicles our community can use to move forward and do really great things.


Link to Riverbea Consent Order & Judgement



On Monday March 26th, the circuit court ruled in favor of RCIA's motion for accounting by Riverbea to the community for the use of community funds and other assets.  the court denied RCIA's motion to remove Riverbea Directors and strike current Riverbea counsel.  Ensuring Riverbea's accountability to Riviera Beach residents for funds derived from community assets is essential in ensuring our money is being put back into our community.  This is another very important decision in favor of the community




February 2013-  

On Friday, Feb 8 the following correspondence regarding current litigation was sent to Linda Schuett, counsel for Riverbea Corporation and its individual directors:

Dear Ms. Schuett:

It is in the Riviera Beach Community's best interests to resolve this case in a manner that assures that all future community issues, including issues concerning use of community land, are taken care of through an ...open, democratic process which allows community members to fully participate in, be informed of, and and vote on community matters. I cannot see any reason that the community's interests are served by having a private corporation own the community property or govern community affairs. It is also in the community's interests to reach a single, final resolution of the entirety of the dispute, including a release of the money claims against Defendants Snyder, Guizzardi, Schiebe and Kiley. The triangle should never have been sold, and Mr. Tiernan should not have been selected to construct the Bayfront, but bankrupting community members serves no lasting community purpose. My clients are willing to move on and focus on repairing the Bayfront -- I urge you and your clients to do the same.

I have authority to resolve our clients' mutual issues on the following basis:

Plaintiffs will settle and dismiss the case against Riverbea and the Riverbea Defendants (Robert Snyder, William Guizzardi, Brett Schiebe, Patrick Kiley) and resolve all issues between the parties forever if Riverbea will deed all community property to the RCIA in trust for the benefit of the Riviera Beach Community. This will end all claims for money or other legal action between these parties and the Defendants can continue to be active with the RCIA if they wish. The case will continue against Mr. Tiernan/CA Norris in an effort to make the Bayfront project properly constructed and safe.

Although I have full authority to make this offer, I believe that it will require Court approval and ultimately a community vote as well as dismissals and mutual releases. If accepted, some thought will also need to be given to transference of the pier agreements, boat ramp, and any community personal property.

Very truly yours,

J. Dirk Schwenk


January 2013 - On December 19th RCIA filed a motion with the Circuit Court for Partial Summary Judgement in the current case with Riverbea Corp., et al. The motion asks the court to rule on several counts in the lawsuit based on decisions the court has made in previous motions and other established facts.  The motion and supporting exhibits (which are extensive) can be viewed in the Lawsuit Documents Library   HERE
 

On November 21st, 2012 RCIA filed a motion with the court to compel Riverbea to comply with the order for an accounting that the court had made six months ago on May 8, 2012.  It explains why the "accounting" Riverbea provided in response to the court order is inadequate and asks the court to assign a qualified auditor to accomplish the task.  It contains excerpts from previous decisions of the court, deposition of Riverbea's Treasurer (who conducted the "accounting"), and some of the documentation Riverbea provided.
 

Proposed lawsuit draft settlement offered by Riverbea (subject to change). Riverbea & RCIA are currently not in negotiations.  Settlement can be viewed HERE


 

September 2012 - The true nature and funding of our current litigation

RCIA is currently pursuing a legal remedy to fix a failed and dangerous Bayfront erosion project and to try and recover money that was misappropriated.  In conformance with our 2012 Erosion Budget as well as state and local rules governing the use of Erosion Funds, funds allocated for the purpose are paying for this lawsuit.  The entire process is open and transparent, from erosion committee meetings open to all, dissemination of the proposed budget via regular US mail, an open meeting dedicated to the topic in October and finally a budget vote in November.  All submitted invoices are reviewed by the county prior to disbursement of funds.  We have provided information and answers regarding the lawsuit at our monthly open meetings.  Updates and documents regarding the lawsuit have been posted on this website and on Facebook.  We will use the same process this year and invite any resident who is interested to participate.  The County Office of Law and Erosion Control personnel have carefully reviewed (and continue to review) the way that our community (your) funds are being spent, and found that what is being done is appropriate use of the funds.  When you are doing things right you invite people to examine your actions and RCIA encourages examination of ours. 

August 2012 County Auditors Report

  


On Monday March 26th, the circuit court ruled in favor of RCIA's motion for accounting by Riverbea to the community for the use of community funds and other assets.  The court denied RCIA's motion to remove Riverbea Directors and strike current Riverbea counsel.  Ensuring Riverbea's accountability to Riviera Beach residents for funds derived from community assets is essential in ensuring our money is being put back into our community.  This is another very important decision in favor of the community!


Court Rules on Triangle & Riverbea motion to dismiss case

August 16, 2011

Many of you have followed the court case between RCIA and Riverbea for several years now. This week the court rejected Riverbea's motion to dismiss the case and ruled in favor of your rights to use your community property as you always have. This is a significant ruling in favor of the residents of Riviera Beach.

 

More specifically, the court decided in favor of RCIA with regards to our use of the "triangle" property, your community property. The Court will sign "an appropriate declaration of rights with respect to the "triangle" property to the effect that the "triangle" property is and shall remain subject to the use restrictions that bind all of the community common areas and that the property is subject to an easement in favor of the property owners and residents of the Riviera Beach community for purpose of ingress, egress, recreation and open space."

 

While there are many other issues that will be decided when the case is heard in court in its entirety, this key decision is significant. It is a positive outcome to many years of effort to restore and safeguard our community property. 

Your neighbor,

Eric Etzel

Vice President RCIA

 


August 4, 2011

Good Afternoon,
 
       Yesterday August 3, the Circuit Court conducted a hearing to determine if the case brought against Riverbea Corporation by RCIA and others should be dismissed or move forward.  In general terms the hearing provided (for the first time) an opportunity for the court to hear argument centered on the real issues at hand.  The Judge who heard the case was fair and attentive and asked pertinent questions of both sides.  He did not render an opinion.  He let us know that he is currently without a legal aid and is involved in at least one capital murder case.  He was not sure when he would be able to fully review all of the documents and evidence that he has received.  Therefore, it may be some time before he is able to rule one way or the other.
 
       We were represented well and those who were able to attend left with a greater understanding of the important issues involved in the case.  Today, those who have worked diligently on behalf of our community to bring this matter to justice through fundraising, research, and dozens of other ways, should be rightly proud of their efforts.  Thank you all for the many hours of work you have put in.  I expect many more will be required before it is all said and done.
 
Your neighbor,
Eric Etzel
Vice President RCIA




February 1, 2010

 

Riverbea's reply to RCIA Opposition to Riverbea's Motion to Dismiss

 


 

November 21, 2009

 

Good morning,

    Yesterday Judge Goetske denied RCIA's request for an injunction that would have kept Riverbea from moving forward with their plans to demolish three piers that they have obtained demo permits to tear down.  Judge Goetske was the judge who denied our request for a temporary restraining order a couple weeks ago.  On appeal that decision was overturned.   We will be filing an appeal to this most recent decision and hopefulloy it will be overturned as well.

    Everybody had a great time last nigh at the Quarter Auction.  We will be doing that again soon at a bigger place so save your quarters!

    I was just down at the boat ramp area helping a group of folks out cleaning up debris.  Beautiful fall day.  If you have a chance take a walk down there, especially if you haven't been down there in a while or have never had the chance to see it-it's alot more than just a boat ramp.  You'll wish you had done it before.

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend,

Your neighbor,
Eric Etzel
Vice President 
Riviera Community Improvement Association
riviera-beach-md.org

 


November 13, 2009


On November 13, 2009, the Court of Special Appeals granted RCIA and the individual Plaintiffs' request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the demolition of three (3) piers on Community Property.  On November 19, 2009, in the Circuit Court for  Anne Arundel County a judge will hold an evidentiary hearing to determine if that injunction should remain in place until the trial. 

 

Below is a timeline of the current case:

 

  1. On October 28, 2009, we filed in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, on behalf of RCIA and the individual Plaintiffs, a Complaint asking the Court by way of a declaratory judgment action to clarify the rights and responsibilities of RCIA and Riverbea with regard to community property; injunctive relief related to community property, including the piers and triangle; and also sought other causes of action against Riverbea Corporation, Riviera Beach Yacht Club, Inc., Robert Snyder, William Guizzardi, Brett Schiebe, John Barry Tiernan and Edward Patrick Kiley.
  2. On October 28, 2009, we filed in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction.  The TRO is a request to the Court without a hearing on the record, to "maintain the status quo" for short period of time (usually 10 days) until a hearing is scheduled.     In our case we asked the Court to prevent Riverbea from acting on the demolition permits until we have an evidentiary hearing on whether the piers should remain until a judgment is entered in this case.  We lost the initial TRO which occurred in a Chambers Conference before Judge Goetzke of the Circuit Court because he said there was no evidence of irreparable harm if the piers were demolished.  They could always be rebuilt.
  3. On October 29th we went back before Judge Goetzke with evidence of irreparable harm-once removed it may not be possible to rebuild the piers.    Judge Goetzke again denied the TRO
  4. On November 4, 2009, we appealed the denials of the TROs to the Court of Special Appeals.
  5. On November 13, 2009, the Court of Special Appeals granted our TRO and said it would remain in place until the hearing on November 19th.
  6. On November 19, 2009, the Circuit Court will hold a "preliminary injunction" hearing.  The purpose of the preliminary injunction hearing is so that the Court can hear evidence from both sides to determine whether the piers should remain undisturbed until there is a trial on the merits of the case.  The Court must make a ruling on the preliminary injunction per certain criteria to determine whether or not to grant the preliminary injunction.  We must put evidence on the record (testimony and documents) to convince the Court that Riverbea should be prevented from taking any action on Community Property until after a trial on the Complaint which must be concluded by May 2011.

 

Click here to view the Court of Special Appeals order

Thank you,

The Board of RCIA 

 


November 9, 2009

 

Good afternoon everyone,

    I wanted to clarify a couple of points in the e-mail I sent out Friday.   The Court of Special Appeals accepted our appeal of Judge Goetzke's denial of the Motion for Temporary Restraining Order.  Riverbea agreed to wait until the Court of Special Appeals rules on our appeal of the TRO before tearing down any of the piers.  The Preliminary Hearing set in by Judge Goetzke in the Circuit Court is still scheduled for November 19, 2009 at 9:00 am.  That hearing will take place no matter what the Court of Special Appeals decides.  So, it is likely that if the Court of Special Appeals denies our appeal prior to 11/19 then Riverbea will tear down the piers.  We have no opportunity for a hearing before the Court of Special Appeals, our hearing is the 19th.  At this point we have to wait and see. I hope that's a more thorough explanation of where things are today.

Your Neighbor,
Eric Etzel
Vice President
Riviera Beach Community Improvement Association

 


 

November 6, 2009

 

Good afternoon,

    On Wednesday, 4 November the Special Court of Appeals court granted RCIA's request for a hearing to reverse an initial finding that denied RCIA's request for a restraining order to keep Riverbea from moving forward with it's plans to tear out three piers in the community.  The piers are adjacent to Paul and Karen Buddock's, Mike Young's and my property over on Park Road.

    The hearing will be held on Monday, 9 November.  Riverbea's lawyer has said no pier demolition will occur until after the findings from that hearing are completed.  

    I have attached Riverbea's response in objection to the restraining order RCIA requested.  Soon it will be available on the website along with the other documents.

    In response to a request from my last e-mail I have also attached a document that contains contact information for some of our representatives. I would encourage you to share your opinions with them, hopefully it is helpful.   If you are aware of other representatives who folks might like to contact please pass it along to me and I will forward it out to the group next time I update.   

    I have also included the text of an article that appeared in the MD Gazette about the lawsuit written by Allison Bourg.

    Last weekend John Bass and a group of hard working volunteers planted fifty trees and shrubs in the beach area down by the boat ramp. The shrubs and trees were provided as part of a MD program designed to help fight off erosion and re-establish native plants.  The work they have done looks great and if you haven't been down there recently you should go take a look when you get the chance.  

    Please share this information with your neighbors.  If you know someone who would like to get these updates pass along their e-mail and I will add them to the list.  

Your neighbor,
Eric Etzel
Vice President
Riviera Beach Community Improvement Association
http://riviera-beach-md.org/

 


November 3, 2009

 

Good evening,

    On Monday, November 2nd the judge hearing the community's request for a Temporary Restraining Order denied the request.  Katy appealed to the judge again today, Tuesday, but was unsuccessful in obtaining the restraining order.  I am relating this information to you second hand-I was not at the hearings.

    The judge felt that no "irreparable harm" would be done if Riverbea tore the piers out.  He said that if Riverbea later lost the case that the piers could be rebuilt and that Riverbea could probably be held liable for rebuilding the piers and perhaps damages.  It is possible that the piers could be torn out before the November 19th preliminary hearing but the judge assumed that Riverbea would wait until after that to avoid any individual risk they might assume if they decided to go ahead before then.

    The preliminary hearing for the complaint itself is November 19th.  At that time the judge will review the case in it's entirety and determine if an injunction is warranted to protect the community from further or potential harm caused by selling or destroying community property.

    We will be adding information to the "Pending Lawsuit" page of the Community website 
riviera-beach-md.org as soon as we can when it becomes available.  

    Although it could change, I have been told that there will be an article in the Maryland Gazette tomorrow.

    As a final note, I would continue to encourage you to talk to your neighbors and share with them the website and e-mails, invite them to attend the community meetings, pass along any documents that might be helpful to the case to a board member and contact your elected representatives to share with them your opinion-they are interested.

Your neighbor,
Eric Etzel
Vice President 
Riviera Beach Community Improvement Association

 


Update from the lawyer


Today the attorneys for RCIA filed a Complaint against Riverbea, its known Directors, Tiernan and the Yacht Club seeking to resolve all outstanding issues regarding rights in community property held by allRiviera Beach owners.  They also filed a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent Riverbea�s demolition of the piers. We are trying to get this up on the website for your review.  In the mean time if you want to see a copy you may come to our office at 148 Riviera Dr.

       

Click here for Complaint filed.   Click her for TRO filed. 

Thank you,

The Board of RCIA 



July 18, 2009

Updated on Monday, July 21, 2008:  On Wednesday, July 16, 2008, the Plaintiff's lawyer Daniel J. Mellin offered to the Defendant's lawyer these new documents regarding the revised stipulations that arose during the Tuesday night General Membership meeting. These documents were offered to the Defendants lawyer not to the Courts as initially reported.

The stipulation in layman's terms from the lawyer:
The lawsuit is settled so there will be no continuing costs of litigation. All defendants will be dismissed as part of the settlement. Once settled, there will be no need for a receiver. 

John Tiernan will be paid back $152,900.00, which is his cost to purchase the Triangle.

The repayment will be in the nature of a rescission, which means that transfer and recordation taxes should not be charged on the deed conveying the Triangle back to Riverbea.

Riverbea will be merged in to RCIA. Legally this means that Riverbea ceases to exist as a separate corporation, and RCIA is the single successor corporation owning all of the Riverbea property.

Riverbea's remaining funds will be paid to Tiernan as part of the rescission. Tiernan will not deliver the rescission deed to the Triangle until he is paid the Shortfall in full.

RCIA will pay the Shortfall to Tiernan as soon as RCIA is able.

If RCIA's fundraising takes longer than Tiernan is willing to wait, then one of the Plaintiffs will guarantee the RCIA note to Tiernan and put up separate collateral real estate for that guarantee.

If Tiernan will not wait longer than six months to be paid the Shortfall, then one of the Plaintiffs may have to loan the Shortfall to RCIA to pay Tiernan, in return for a note from RCIA.

After the Settlement, there will be no more Riverbea, and RCIA will be the single corporation owning and maintaining the Rivera Beach Community Property.


At the July General Membership meeting, the confusion from June's meeting was clarified as each party explained in further detail the progression of the lawsuit. It was announced that the negotiations had come to a halt. This prompted  heated discussions among the parties in which each were given the opportunity to speak and take questions from community residents. 

On Friday, July 11, 2008, in response to the halted negotiations, the Plaintiff's filed two motions; 
Motion to Freeze Assets and a Motion to Shorten Time.

On Friday, July 11,2008, RiverBea Corporation stopped negotiations. 

At the June General Membership meeting there was some confusion regarding RCIA's position in the lawsuit. RCIA is not named or a party in this lawsuit. RCIA is currently researching Pro Bono lawyers that will work with the Association regarding this matter and the pending Bylaw changes. 

On May 30, 2008, a joint motion by the parties was filed to extend time for filing Defendants' Initial Pleading or Answer.

On April 24, 2008, three residents of Riviera Beach filed suit against RiverBea Corp and named seven individuals in the lawsuit. They filed for 
Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Derivative and Injunctive and Other Relief with Exhibits and Statement of Points and Authorities.

At the November 2007 General Membership Meeting, John Robbins of Riverbea Corporation publicly announced the Sale of the Triangle.
 
In the spring of 2007, a parcel of land known as the Triangle was sold. The residents of Riviera Beach and a majority of the RCIA Board members were unaware of the sale. Information regarding the parties involved are public record and can be found on 
Maryland's Department of Assessment and Taxationwebsite.



According to the 
Anne Arundel County website, a pre-trial conference is scheduled for January 13, 2009 at 3:30pm.

We will update this page as information develops.