PARIS – A lawyer has moved to dismiss a discrimination complaint filed against the town by 24 residents.

Geoffrey Hole states that the complaint was filed in Oxford County Superior Court on Sept. 16, past the 30-day limit to appeal selectmen’s actions. The complaint cites actions and statements at board meetings on July 14 and 28.

The complaint charges the town with discrimination against real estate developers and brokers in its appointments to the Planning Board. Specifically, it mentions the dismissal of Ron Fitts as an alternate to the Planning Board on July 14 after the board did not reappoint him to the position for a five-year term. Fitts was appointed to the position in March in a 3-2 vote.

“Plaintiff Ron Fitts is the engine in this complaint’s train, with 23 other cars being pulled along,” Hole wrote.

Fitts was also noted in a lawsuit brought against former Chairman Ernest Fitts III, Ron’s brother, and Selectman Glen Young by resident Robert Moorehead. That suit charged the two selectmen with a conflict of interest and a bias toward the building industry in their votes to appoint Fitts to the board and other decisions.

Moorehead asked that the suit be dismissed last month, saying changes in the local government, including Ron Fitts’ removal, made the complaint unnecessary.

At each of the cited meetings, Chairman Raymond Glover said that he did not believe a developer or broker should serve on the Planning Board due to the potential for a conflict of interest.

Dana Hanley, attorney for the 24 plaintiffs, filed an opposition to Hole’s motion on Tuesday, stating that a time limit was not applicable because “the actions of [the board] constitute continuing discrimination against real estate developers and realtors.”

Hanley stated that the board actions indicate that the plaintiffs, who all consider themselves real estate developers or brokers or agents, “would not have the same constitutional right to serve on the Paris Planning Board” as other residents.

Hanley also filed a motion to allow more than 30 days for filing, again arguing that a time limit was inapplicable due to continuing discrimination and that the plaintiffs had delayed filing a lawsuit due to “non-litigious attempts to persuade [the board] to change its policy prior to the filing of the complaint in this matter.”

Hanley has also asked that the case be stayed until the pending motions are resolved.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.