The Wetlands annexation group filed a $15 million defamation suit on Halloween Day against Art and Ann Helton, the New Harford Democratic Club and club president John Haggerty.
The suit stems from a flyer the Heltons and the Club allegedly designed and distributed prior to the December 2006 special election on the Wetlands Golf Course property annexation. The flyer purportedly asked residents to “Save Aberdeen” by voting against the Wetlands annexation and went on to claim annexation of the property would bring 7,800 townhouse units to the site, do away with the golf course, remove all open space and significantly increase crime in the area.
The Wetlands development team, of course, refutes those claims citing among other things, a provision in the annexation agreement which would have protected the golf course for a minimum of 20 years. The group also contends the 7,800-unit figure was extremely misleading as it was apparently calculated using the greatest possible density on the total site acreage without taking into consideration streets, setbacks, undevelopable areas, etc.
The word on why the libel suit was filed just 5 days before the city’s Nov. 6 municipal election officially has to do with the one-year statute of limitations in libel and defamation cases. Unofficially, the Wetlands guys want to show the public what kind of campaign Helton and his Club truly run.