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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Nightmare in Coffman Cove
By Guy Lane


February 16, 2012
Thursday AM

My family & I moved to Coffman Cove from the Kenai Peninsula after Coffman Cove resident and City Council member Elaine Price agreed to sell property that was 75 feet from the salt water & 65 feet from a salmon stream and on the main paved road just as you enter Coffman Cove. We also rented a small trailer from Council member Elaine Price while we were to work on the property until spring.  We thought this was a dream come true, until we arrived in Coffman Cove with all of our personal goods, equipment and tools and ready to work. Upon starting to clear the land we discovered a massive industrial contaminated toxic dump with logging equipment, log trucks, pickups, large fuel tanks, boats, garbage, misc. debris and many 55 gallon barrels of petrolium products (some were damaged and empty and some were full, some were leaking). The ground smelled so bad that my family would not even go on it. (See the YouTube video "NIGHTMARE IN COFFMAN COVE"

After immediately contacting the seller Elaine Price -- who originally gained our trust by telling us she was the City Administrator, Industrial Park Manager, and also bragged of being on the Timber Task Force for Gov. Sean Parnell  to bring jobs and businesses to the local area and also she was on Coffman Cove city council -- we explained what we found and told her that this property should have been sold to no one, Ms. Price said that "I was not supposed to be digging in there" and then said they would give no money back as they did not want to invest any more money into the property. (Please tell me how you develope property without digging on it?).

I then immediately called one of the other sellers (Danny Jenkins) and he told us to get off the property if we found something we did not like and then said "the property was a real mess in there". When I asked him about why he would ever sell such a toxic property and told him we wanted money returned he stated "I don't know what to tell you about that" and hung up on me, and "never answered any certified letters".

Ms. Elaine Price intentionally pulled the disclosure papers out of the title company packet stating they were not needed. "Elaine and Douglas Price stated that the property was ready to build on right now".

After several days with no help or contact from Ms. Price, realization was setting in that winter was coming soon and we had no place to make a new home or even worse, no place to re-start our family wood carving business back up as we had planned and needed to do in a hurry (We ended up missing our entire fall and Christmas carving season and actually had to give refunds for orders already taken as we had no place to work).

Is this how Coffman Cove promotes and helps new businesses get started?  We went to the city council meetings on Oct.27 & Nov.25, 2011 (see minutes on City of Coffman Cove website) and stated that we were being financially devastated by Elaine Price's actions and felt we were being totally taken advantage of. Ms. Price stated she would give our money back (which has never happened). Ms. Price admitted to knowing about buried contamination on the property. She then lied and claimed (I) made the mess on the property (see YouTube video NIGHTMARE IN COFFMAN COVE).

After we attended the first Coffman Cove council meeting, the next morning Ms. Price placed a block on the telephone in the house we rented from her. Now we had to travel 55 miles to Thorne Bay to make any business or personal long distance calls (no cell phone reception in Coffman Cove). Then the following Sunday morning we received a telephone call from Ms. Price telling us to get out of the rental house in 6 days when our first month's rent was up (all bills were paid in full at this time). Ms. Price stated "since we went to the city council meeting and spoke against her she wanted us out of the trailer immediately". I asked her for that in writing and sure enough 1 day later we received an eviction letter from Ms. Price telling us to get out. At the bottom of this eviction letter it said "because of the letter we wrote to the city council we should be excited to get out of there".  I can assure Ms. Price there was nothing exciting about what she has done to my family!

Would someone please tell me where any city council person on the planet has the right to evict a family of five (in the winter, just before Christmas) for speaking the " 100% TRUTH" at a public council meeting? You can go to the Coffman Cove's City Council's website and read the recorded minutes. The minutes from the Oct. 27 are being redone as they are not any where near complete as to what was actually said (I feel this was another ploy to protect Council Member Price). The minutes are being redone now as per our written request in a word for word script and will be amended at the next city council meeting in Feb. 2012.

We notified Ms. Price that we had no where to go and would not move until we found some property and that we were not bouncing our kids around (we ended up putting them in a different school after admitting them in Coffman Cove School for just a few weeks (hell of a thing to put kids through). A couple days later the trailer sprang a huge leak from the access area behind the back of the trailer flooding the bathroom and bedroom & then no hot water for bathing and Kim heated hot water on the stove for a month to wash dishes. Ms. Price, the landlord, ignored our certified letters of request to fix this and thus we spent the next month getting our showers in Thorne Bay as this was the closest public facility for us to use.  A city employee (Bill) finally came and shut all the water off to the hot water heater and it was never fixed while we were there, (Elaine Price was also contacted by the city regarding this problem). After these situations we finally just had to move out because of the hardships for our family living there. Ms. PRice has never had any contact with us to make the rental livable or safe.

During the Coffman Cove public city council meetings we have been insulted, belittled, and flat lied to. Three of the city council members deny that this should even be any kind of city business. When I bring up the fact the city used to own the property and that Ms. Price showed us the property in the city building and contracts were signed in the city building with her, we were just brushed aside and told to "keep a lid on it, we can talk about it later in person" (outside of the city council) by the Mayor (Carolyn Duncan). Council member Misty Fitzpatrick wanted the discussion ended immediately even though members Randy Lentz and Michelle Page were asking me more questions and did show concern as to what Ms. Price was doing to our family and her obvious conflict of interest for financial gain. However, Council member Misty Fitzpatrick couldn't wait to end this topic that was breaking my family financially and emotionally, especially as we had just went through great time and expense to move and all of this (was taking place just prior to the Christmas holidays).

In the Nov. 2011 regular city council meeting I brought it to the council's attention that Council Member Price had voted on motions she made to have the city extend water and sewer to the property, I also asked if Ms. Price had told the other council members that she was making $5,000 paid directly to her from the title company when voting on this motion (conflict of interest). (I gave the city council a copy of earnest money agreement Ms. Price signed as seller and also closing papers filled out and signed by her regarding the payment of $5,000 to herself, I also gave a copy of the eviction notice signed by Ms. Price at this meeting).  Ms. Price said everything I was saying was not true, even though I showed up with her own signed documents!  At this time I'd have to call Ms. Price a habitual liar!

Ms. Price then began to state that she did not own the property (even though she signed the earnest money agreement as seller and accepted the check in her name), Ms. Price stated that the $5,000 was for the "trailer fund" and then said she did not own the trailer (the trailer telephone, oil, satellite, electricity were all in her name and checks for rent were made and cashed in Elaine Price's name). If this doesn't show a financial interest then what does?  I would think that the trailer fund for voting when you get caught in a conflict of interest situation would be quite popular with other crooked politicians when this story is made available to the public. It seems to work very well as recently  Coffman Cove City council members Brian Wilson, Carolyn Duncan, and Misty Fitzpatrick voted to have no censure against Council Member Price. However, Michelle Page, Randy Lenz and Sara Yockey all voted to take action for Elaine Price's bad dealings with lot 1, Chum Creek Subdivision located in Coffman Cove Alaska.

On or about the 1st of February Brian Wilson ( who is currently on the city council) came to the property my family and I were working on in Thorne Bay "after we were run out of Coffman Cove". Council Member Wilson stated that "he would have sued Elaine Price the next day if she ever did something like this to him" he then stated "the City of Coffman Cove could not afford a lawsuit with us and that we should definitely be suing Elaine Price but if we sue Coffman Cove they would have to cut services to the city and that it would also shut down the barge company in Thorne Bay, directly effecting the town you live in now", he also stated that "suing Coffman would have bad impacts in Whale Pass and Naukati". He than handed us a small portion of the 1998 minutes that Michell Page copied for us that "have the council members and Elaine Price talking about allegations of buried (stuff) on the property and that Price was not to come back on the city (later) for what she finds burried in the property". (Price was mayor of Coffman Cove at this time). Ms. Price admitted to knowing what was on the property and accepted the property and accepted to buy it as it is. Price purchased the property for $5,425 less than the city asking price because of its condition, and the rest of the council voted to sell it to her. (Price signed the deed as mayor transferring the property to herself.

We took this conversation with Council Member Wilson as a threat -- that if we sue Coffman Cove then we will be enemies of the entire island. In my opinion this was just another low down ploy of the Coffman Cove City Council to scare us and protect Council Member Price's fraudulent dealings and also try and cover up their own illegal toxic land sales to the public.

I find it very odd that the City of Coffman Cove can take the time and search out all kinds of federal and state grants but when a real family moves to their town with a small business, Elaine Price, the city administrator, intentionally led us into the sale of a contaminated industrial toxic dump and ruined all our efforts to move there and start a business for no reason other than her own greed!!. This property was just about 1/4 mile from Price's home and she drove by it for over 25 plus years (She has admitted to knowing about the property since it was an empty rock pit) and had prior knowledge of contamination on the property. We have been told that Ms. Price and her husband actually placed fill on the property covering part of the contamination up since purchasing it from the City of Coffman Cove.

This property is located just as you drive into Coffman Cove, go over the bridge and it is on the left, it fronts on the main paved road with the green city water treatment tank right across the gravel driveway. If anyone out there knows more about this property and can tell me some time frames of when it was filled up and about the contamination covered up, I would sure appreciate it.

My family is basically left with no other option other than to start a civil action against the City of Coffman Cove and Elaine Price as they will not respond to any certified mail requests and or take any action in the city council. Ms. Price for some reason thinks she is still entitled to the earnest money check which was made in her name and cashed. In my book I'd say this is total fraud from several directions.  There is a bunch more to this story but a full book is a little early at this time. Please go to the next Coffman Cove City council meeting as we will be trying to address this situation for the last time, if we get no where like in the past council meetings then a civil action will follow immediately. I think if enough people contact the City of Coffman Cove and inform them that it is not legally or morally correct to lure a family to their town and rip them off, maybe they can be shamed into doing what is right.

I would also like to ask what is our country coming to if the City of Coffman Cove - at the smallest government level - is so blatently crooked.

Our son-in-law died fighting in the U.S. Army recently for all of our freedoms. To think that the city council in Coffman Cove has the right to do what they just maliciously did to my family and then rub it in and tell us to take it, like it and leave, just about rubs me the wrong way more than anyone ever has in my life. Just how powerful and mighty do they think they really are in small town Coffman Cove? Win lose or draw I will be in this fight until I gain back what was fraudulently taken from my family, especially after we planned and worked so hard to move to Southeast Alaska.

We were looking for a better quality of life and a place to raise our children where we thought there would be better values. I do know there are many great people in Coffman Cove but the half of the city council who are protecting Ms. Price's fraud and shady real estate transactions had better start representing their residents one heck of a lot better.  

At this point I would never recommend any new business to ever think of going to this small town until (all) of the city employees  can get their act together, it takes more than just a few good ones.

Thanks for your time, please contact the city hall in Coffman Cove at 907-329-2233 and let Carolyn Duncan, Brian Wilson and Misty Fitzpatrick know what you think of how they are handling these bad faith dealings with our family and business.

 If anyone knows about this property please email me. I am also asking for the help of any elected, state and or federal employees who have the power to step into this situation and bring these people to justice for any of the acts (of what I allege is fraud) that may have been commited in our dealings with Ms. Elaine Price and the Coffman Cove City Council.

Aren't our elected officials supposed to protect our rights, not strip our freedom and break us? 

Thank for your time, I really appreciate it.

Guy Lane
bearinak [at]
Coffman Cove, AK


Received February 13, 2012 - Published February 16, 2012



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