SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 2, 2012

Court refuses to hear Little Neck sale case

BY PAUL LEIGHTON STAFF WRITER
The Salem News

---- — IPSWICH — The group of residents who are fighting the sale of Little Neck has lost another legal battle.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday denied a request to hear the case filed by Ipswich Citizens for Public Trust. The court did not make any statement other than to say that the application was denied.

The case involves the sale of Little Neck, a 35-acre peninsula that was placed in a trust in 1660 and managed by trustees to benefit the Ipswich public schools.

The trustees, known as the Feoffees, sold the land to Little Neck residents for $31.4 million on Aug. 10. The sale netted $25 million for a new investment trust that will continue to benefit the schools, beginning with annual $800,000 payments for the first three years.

The citizens group opposes the deal, saying the trust should not have been broken and the schools will get less money than if the trust had been preserved and properly managed.

Now that the Supreme Judicial Court has refused to hear the case, the group can still file an appeal with the Appeals Court.

Mark DiSalvo, who owns a cottage on Little Neck and supports the sale, said he hopes the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision persuades Citizens for Public Trust to drop its legal battle. The School Committee has received the first $800,000 payment from the sale, but is waiting for the legal challenge to end before it decides how to spend the money.

“The case is over,” DiSalvo said. “The land has been transferred. If you were to unwind the transaction, it would do irreparable harm to the people they sincerely believe they are trying to look after, the schoolchildren of Ipswich.”

Representatives of the Ipswich Citizens for Public Trust could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.