JAY — The town and Franklin County have received notices of intent to file for claims under the Maine Tort Claims Act for $400,000 from an attorney representing Darren Pollis and Carol Dolbier, personal representatives of the heirs of the estate of Leroy Pollis.

By a court order issued in January, Jay had two of the Pollises’ properties cleaned up on June 17 on Route 17 in North Jay. The town claimed the properties were not in compliance with state junkyard and automobile graveyard laws. Jay police, Franklin County deputies and law enforcement were present during the cleanup.

The town had been trying to get the properties to come into compliance for 16 years, and previous court orders were ignored, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere previously said.

The Pollis family claims the town went too far and removed more than the court order allowed, including items in a storage trailer, exempt items and commercial and antique vehicles.

“We have not filed suit yet,” attorney Edmond Bearor of Rudman Winchell in Bangor said in an email Monday.

The Notice of Claim is a necessary first step in that process and one that invites the town to discuss settling the Pollises’ claim before the sides get locked in litigation, he said.


“We also filed a similar notice with Franklin County in connection with its sheriff’s deputy’s actions that day in June when the Pollis property was destroyed and Mr. Pollis and others were restrained from being on the property, although posing neither threat or danger to themselves or anyone else,” Bearor stated.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Hartley, now a corporal, arrested Halstead “Hal” Burhoe, 67, of Canton on charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration at the site during the cleanup.

According to the Notice of Claim in June, agents, employees, elected officials and contractors hired by the town of Jay, including law enforcement officers from Franklin County, trespassed upon the Pollises’ property and destroyed or wrongfully removed personal property from the Pollises’ property.

“Although arguably acting pursuant to a court order, the town of Jay’s actions far exceeded the specific directive of the order. In addition to trespassing upon claimant’s property, town employees, elected officials, agents and contractors acting under the color of law violated claimant’s constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and their civil rights under 42 USCA section 1983 by wrongfully taking claimant’s personal property and with assistance from the Franklin County Sheriff’s (Department) forcibly denied claimant Pollis access to his property while his personal property was unconstitutionally taken or stolen from him by the town of Jay,” the notice states.

Jay sent the claim notice to the town’s attorney for review, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said. Franklin County has sent its notice to Maine County Commissioners Association Risk Pool, County Clerk Julie Magoon said.

The town paid a Fairfield company $15,000 to have the property cleared.

Darren Pollis of North Jay previously said more than $20,000 in vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and other items were taken. Some of the items, including snowmobiles and ATVs, were exempt under law, he had said. Some items were also in a storage trailer and were not supposed to be taken. Debris from a collapsed trailer was supposed to be removed but wasn’t, he said.

The town applied a combined special tax of $31,475 in August to the two properties, based on the valuation of each property to cover the town’s costs.


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