(WTNH)–The owner of a shoreline rock quarry is suing the town of East Haven for $25 million, alleging the town is trying to shut the business down.
The rock quarry has been around for 70 years, but the owner now says he’s been handed a cease and desist order. Since 2013, the town has granted them 37 blasting permits, but two weeks ago, the owner says they were denied and shut down.
“Fully insured, fully licensed blasting contractor, went in for a permit, and was told that he’s been told by the mayor not issue any more permits,” said attorney Peter Alter. He says there was no reason given by the town.
Farm River Rock says the mayor has been bullying and harassing them. In one year, the town jacked up its land taxes from $15,000 to $107,000 an acre.
“There is a concentrated effort by the mayor at his direction and Town Officials to attempt to tax this quarry out of business,” Alter said.
Attorney Atler says the average tax on a quarry in Connecticut is somewhere between 10 and $12,000 an acre.
News 8 went to East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo’s office to get some answers. They had no comment, and told us to contact the town attorney.
The East Haven town attorney talked to us at length off camera but says he just got the $25 million lawsuit on Friday, and has not had time to fully read it through. He expects to comment on it next week, but for now the rock crushing equipment at the quarry will remain idle.
“If allowed to operate and realize the stone that is available, that we know is available, it’s worth anywhere from $40 million to 60 or $70 million,” said Alter.
The owner said this is just the first round of lawsuits, and that these suits are against the mayor and town officials. He may also be forced to sue the town itself as he tries to get back into business.