01/05/2023 | Ocean Pines Board, Former Director Reach Settlement … – The Dispatch

OCEAN PINES – A settlement between the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) and former director Tom Janasek is being finalized.
Late last week, the Ocean Pines Board of Directors announced the association had agreed in principle to a settlement in a lawsuit regarding the enforcement of a 90-day amenity ban against Janasek. The settlement comes months after a Worcester County Circuit Court judge granted Janasek’s motion for a preliminary injunction, allowing him to continue using Ocean Pines’ food and beverage operations as his lawsuit against the association and its board of directors made is way through the court system.
“Specific terms and conditions of a proposed settlement were reviewed by counsel for both parties,” a statement from the board reads. “The amount of the financial payout to the plaintiff was proposed and agreed to by the insurance carrier for OPA. The final details and related paperwork are in progress and will be finalized over the next several weeks.”
In June, the board of directors voted 5-2, with Directors Doug Parks and Rick Farr opposed, to ban Janasek from the Yacht Club, Golf Clubhouse and Beach Club for 90 days following an altercation between Janasek and former director Josette Wheatley. While at the Yacht Club Tiki Bar on May 20, Janasek reportedly launched into a verbal tirade over Wheatley’s vote to elect the next association president.
In June, however, Janasek filed suit against the association and four board members – Colette Horn, Frank Daly, former director Amy Peck and former director Larry Perrone – arguing that the imposed ban was not only a violation of the community’s governing documents but prohibited him from doing business as an independent contractor for AC Beverage, which services bar equipment at Ocean Pines food and beverage facilities.
“Our position in the case is that the Board majority does not have the power to impose the ban that they have attempted to impose, and that they took this action arbitrarily, without precedent, knowing full well they were acting outside the scope of their power and the OPA governing documents,” Bruce Bright, Janasek’s attorney, said at the time.
For their part, board members have asserted the decision to ban Janasek from food and beverage amenities was a matter of safety.
“Our governing documents do give us the authority to provide for the safety at our amenities, not only for members of the association but anyone who comes to our amenities,” Perrone said in June. “And while there are some contradictions in the bylaws, the bylaws clearly state that we have a right and obligation to provide for safety at our amenities.”
Since that time, the lawsuit has worked its way through the court system, with a motions hearing held in August and Janasek’s request for a preliminary injunction granted in October.
While officials reported the association and Janasek had reached a resolution in the matter, they did not share the terms of the settlement. In a comment shared on the Ocean Pines Forum, however, Farr reported settlement numbers totaling $67,750 – $25,000 in insurance deductible fees, $18,750 in attorneys’ fees paid by the insurance company and $24,000 in out-of-pocket legal fees for in-house counsel.
In a statement this week, Bright declined to comment on the terms of the settlement but said he was happy with the outcome of the case.
“Terms of a settlement have been reached, and settlement is in the process of being finalized, he said. “I anticipate that the case will soon be dismissed in accordance with the agreed settlement terms. I do not have any further comment at this time as to the agreed settlement terms, but the settlement will end the matter finally, such that my client’s right to use OPA amenities will no longer be disputed. The current Board has, in my view, acted responsibly and in the best interests of the association in bringing this matter to a close without further costly litigation.”
Janasek did not return requests for comment this week.
Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.
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