Judge orders $500,000 bond

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

Wyoming County Press Examiner

Wyoming County President Judge Russell Shurtleff has ordered a developer standing in the way of a proposed sale of Gay’s True Value to CVS Drugs in Tunkhannock to post $500,000 bond while an appeal process is working its way through the courts elsewhere.

On Tuesday, Judge Shurtleff said that within 10 days of the order, Anthony Colombo of Clarks Summit would be required to post the funds with surety approved by the court.

The order was in response to a petition heard July 23 by the  Zaremba Group which is negotiating the sale of Gay’s True Value property by CVS Drugs.

Judge Shurtleff noted in his order that in oral arguments and unrefuted testimony over which he presided May 18, “the Zaremba Group has incurred and will continue to incur additional costs due to the delay caused by the appeal.”

The Zaremba Group’s attorney, Tom Daniels, on July 23 said that Zaremba’s Sean McDermott had laid out costs incurred as of that date- $223,000 in fees and expenses already spent.

CVS Drugs’ Amber Marie Franklin also had indicated a potential loss of $1 million if the project did not move forward as planned with a critical closing date on the sale of Sept. 1 with construction to begin shortly thereafter.

Daniels said the construction project was planning for a no later than March 31 opening as CVS present lease, held by Colombo and others, expired that same day.

“It is significant to have the new store up and running by that date,” Daniels said.

Franklin had said that if the March 31 date couldn’t be met, she anticipated additional costs of $250,000 that would be incurred just because CVS would have to find a temporary location to do just its pharmacy business.

“I also remind that the entire project is $5 million,” Daniels told the judge last month.

“I want to put these numbers out there for you to think about, and I ask the court to impose a bond in an appropriate amount on behalf of Zaremba Group and CVS Pharmacy,” he added

Daniels said Tuesday afternoon he was pleased with the judge’s latest order, but anticipated that Colombo might appeal the judge’s decision before turning over $500,000 to the Wyoming County prothonotary’s office.

He acknowledged that in addition to a local hearing as to the merits of whether Colombo has standing to make an appeal locally, there is an Environmental Hearing Board action that Colombo is involved with in Harrisburg.

Gay’s had been at the old woolen mill location off Bridge Street in Tunkhannock since 1926, and the building’s removal would mark a significant change to the town’s landscape.