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Northampton councilman owes $1.27 million for breach of contract in land dispute

3/6/2012 | Real Estate Blog

Development projects can sometimes run into problems, and on any number of levels, including site plan approvals, special use permits, and environmental and zoning obstacles, as well as contract complications. These can be frustrating issues, and ones that can slow down a project or bring it to a screeching halt.

Councilman Ron Angle of Northampton County was apparently involved in a land dispute in recent months which ended in a verdict that he owes $1.27 million to his dentist. The dentist had sued Angle for breach of contract and accused him of causing several potential builders to pull out of plans involving land Angle had sold to him. According to the dentist, each of the projects failed due to Angle’s actions.

The dentist had bought 125 acres from Angle back in 1997, as well as two other adjoining plots, with plans to build a golf course. The agreement between them specified that Angle would assist the dentist in obtaining the approvals necessary to develop the property. Plans for a golf course failed, though, after which the dentist pursued a housing development. That plan also failed after Angle ruined multiple potential deals with builders.

Angle’s attorneys said the dentist never came up with a definite agreement with any developer and that those deals failed because of the poor economy and lack of interest rather than because of Angle’s actions. That is not what the court ruled.

According to judge who delivered the decision, Angle created a number of obstacles that drastically decreased the value of the dentist’s investment. He found that Angle had acted inappropriately in all three potential projects. In one of those projects, the builder backed out after Angle publicly opposed the zoning changes necessary for the project to be completed.

Source: The Morning Call, “August 20. 2011: Judge: Ron Angle owes $1.27 million in land dispute,” Riley Yates, March 5, 2012.