Update: An earlier version of this article had the headline of “Jensen Marina tenant sues Port of Friday Harbor,” that headline was incorrect as Liebman has not sued the port but filed a formal letter of protest.
Submitted by Maurice Liebman
Local resident and longtime Jensen Marina tenant, Maurice Liebman, filed a formal letter of protest with the Port of Friday Harbor alleging mismanagement of finances and unauthorized use of tenant’s funds. Jensen Marina was purchased by the Port June 1, 2018.
The protest comes in response to the Port’s decision to impose a “security deposit” on all tenants pursuant to a Washington statute RCW 53.08.85. The law provides for the collection of some form of bond or security from Port tenants who have a lease agreement of at least one year. Liebman has a month-to-month lease agreement with the Port.
When asked what prompted this protest, Liebman said, “I’m fed up with the lack of transparency with the Port. I have repeatedly requested clarification of new fees, charges and deposits and I am stonewalled and do not receive a response.”
“Then when I asked for a copy of the audio recording of the Port meeting on April 10th, 2019, where this deposit was discussed, I was told that the recording was ‘corrupted’ and unavailable,” he continued. “They call this most recent additional fee a so-called ‘deposit,’ but nowhere do they inform us what the terms of the deposit is, including when or if we can get it back, or how they will use the funds.”
Liebman’s letter of protest alleges additional financial mismanagement by the Port including raising rents and fees arbitrarily and “double taxing.” He cites Washington statute RCW84.68.020 in bringing this protest. The law allows citizens to pay taxes under protest and reserve their rights to bring suit. The Port of Friday Harbor is a state-recognized taxing authority and is subject to the law.
“The Port of Friday Harbor is taking advantage of their position and it affects the public’s trust in their actions and motives,” Liebman said. “I have spoken to numerous people who share my views that the Port is out of control and not being held accountable.”