Electric company sues Conneaut Lake Park for $273k in unpaid bills

Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 10:08 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Penelec has filed legal action in Crawford County Court against the park's board of trustees, seeking payment of $273,237.94 in electric bills. The company claims that amount represents unpaid bills on 31 separate Penelec accounts at the 117-year-old resort and amusement park. The statement dates on the accounts listed in the suit range from June 2007 to March 2008.

Read more from The Erie Times-News.

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Monday, September 14, 2009 11:14 PM

Carrie: well, I don't know about anybody else, but I'm just having fun. Once in a while it's entertaining to argue with Jeff (or Gonch or Moosh or Gator or whomever). Although I do seriously think that one company suing a park for back money is fairly thin evidence that the apocalypse is coming.

Here's what I think. First and foremost, the Liskos are businessmen. They seem to have an arrangement with the trustees where they're responsible for their own profits. So everything they do, they're playing with their own money. That being said, if they come back next year, it means they probably broke even or made a little this season. And as long as they keep coming back, that remains true. Now whether the mechanisms that Ken cited can kick in enough to start bringing down the back debt, we'll find out in due course. But for now, watch what the Liskos do.

I nominate Carrie for coolest, most caring-est poster on the Buzz. :)

Last edited by Ensign Smith, Monday, September 14, 2009 11:15 PM

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Monday, September 14, 2009 11:33 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Ensign Smith said:

I nominate Carrie for coolest, most caring-est poster on the Buzz. :)

*crickets* ;)

Thanks, Pal. Much appreciated.

Although I do seriously think that one company suing a park for back money is fairly thin evidence that the apocalypse is coming.

No, I think the apocalypse is already here. And CLP keeps standing there with Q-Tips in their hands thinking they're going to use them to fight back! ;)

I kid. But really, we can't keep saying that just because the current management didn't cause the debts of the past, that those debts don't matter any longer. CLP has to be called to the carpet for them at some point and I don't see how they are going to be able to recover from them.

They already filed for bankruptcy once, right? Can they do it again?

(And suing for being owed over $200K in utilities payments is hardly a typical American dumb lawsuit. Seems quite reasonable to me to expect to get paid.)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Monday, September 14, 2009 11:51 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I love when others pick up the slack as the 'all head, no heart bad guy' and I can just sit back and watch. :)

You wanna know how to get your amusement park out from under a metric crapload of debt? Ask Mark Shapiro.

I'm not sure who you ask to get your non-profit organization out of debt though. Volunteers, I suppose.

Just remember you get what you pay for. ;)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, September 14, 2009 11:53 PM
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:07 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

I never said the Board is ignoring the debt. So consider me aware.

But again, in the end I am really just trying to get my head around this arrangement and plan. The current management is running operations on a lease? So they make their own money and/or lose their own money? Does that mean that operations surplus, should there be any, will never go back to the Board and therefore be used against the debt?

If so, what does that leave? The lease payments? Is that what the Board is going to use to pay down the 2.4 mil in debt?


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 1:22 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Well, thank you for once again pointing that out to me. I really know very little about how a park is run in the not for profit sense and I really am interested in understanding. I would think a representative of the park would want as many people as possible to understand what is going on there that's different than in the past.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 2:06 AM
Jason Hammond's avatar

I understand everyone who has the opinion that the park has had to many chances. However, what's done is done. So assuming the park is breaking even or making money as it stands now, what is the point in closing the park. There isn't any. If you close it, the land will just sit there unused and the creditors will little if any money. There can't be many assets to sell off if the rides are being leased. And even if there are assets, what kind of money are they going to get in this market?

The fact that the new regime has managed to do what they have in this economy surprises me. The fact that they would even try astounds me. They're giving locals jobs, and making families happy. As long what Ken says is true and they're not losing money and starting to pay debt, I don't see how it's much different then what Six Flags is going through. Be it on a smaller scale.

On the other hand, what do I know. I'm just a fun loving enthusiast who would love to see Blue Streak run again. If it doesn't, no skin off my back. It's defiantly a great ride though.


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 6:07 AM
ridemcoaster's avatar

Carrie M. said:

(I hate it when there's tension in a thread. I get all anxious and start making bad jokes.... -that's right, 'cause all my other jokes are awesome-....pretty soon I'll be begging for hugs again. ;) )

Im just glad its not me this time.. But im probably due again..

::looks at calendar::


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:10 AM
Fun's avatar

OK Ken, I'll play devil's advocate here. Assuming their is indeed a viable plan for the park, what benchmarks have been set? Is their a reasonable target date that we can say, for example, that the park will be profitable? Is their a date you can say that, "If we cannot pay off X percent of our debt by this date, then we have a serious problem." Perhaps even more relevant to this discussion, when will the 273k be paid back to the electric company?

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:12 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Ken Jones said:
But also as a Representative of the Park there is only so much I can say unfortunatly

Actually if this is a non-profit organization asking people to donate money, I would think they have to provide answers to the kinds of questions that I have been asking. And as a park that belongs to the city, isn't its operational activity of public record?

What does it mean that you indicate you are a representative of the park? How did you get that position and what duties do you have?

Jason, I need to say again that I am not against the operation of this park. I am not completely happy about it operating in the condition it's in, however.

The difference between Six Flags and CLP, among other more obvious things, is that SF has a plan in place. And that plan even included a message to the public (through its employees and representatives) to help assure them about what is going on and entice them to continue giving them their business/money.

CLP isn't doing that at all. They are asking people to donate time and money for goodwill purposes and I don't see that initiative carrying them in the long run.

And with regard to the assets CLP has, I can't agree that they have none to liquidate for paying back debt when they have liquidated (or attempted to at least) some of their land just to garner up the resources to open each year.

Last edited by Carrie M., Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:14 AM

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 11:36 AM
Jeff's avatar

Jason Hammond said:
So assuming the park is breaking even or making money as it stands now, what is the point in closing the park.

I don't think you can assume that. The lawsuit is about unpaid electric bills under the current regime.

They're giving locals jobs, and making families happy.

I'd like to see some attribution there. If they're using concessionaires to run half the place, they're certainly from out of town. If I recall correctly, even when they let people go under bankruptcy years ago, they had perhaps a dozen full-time people. That's hardly a boon to the local economy.

And here's a question? How is it OK for the park to keep soliciting for money, again, with no plan or benchmark, yet someone like Etheredge in the Wild West World nonsense goes to jail for it? Even if it is non-profit, it sure seems there has to be some accountability.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:01 PM

Jeff said:


I don't think you can assume that. The lawsuit is about unpaid electric bills under the current regime.

If I understand correctly, almost all (or possibly all) of that debt is from before June, 2007:

"Most of the park's power was turned off on June 6, 2007, after its then-overseers could not come up with the money to pay electric bills that at the time totaled a little more than $200,000. That action came two weeks after former park custodian H. LeRoy Stearns ordered the park closed because he couldn't raise operating funds to launch the 2007 summer season."

This is pre-Lisko.


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:12 PM
Jeff's avatar

The statement dates on the accounts listed in the suit range from June 2007 to March 2008.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:15 PM

Oh. That doesn't sound as encouraging.


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:17 PM
Jeff's avatar

Not at all. And really, to go along the lines of what I think Carrie and Gonch were after, what difference does it make? You've got the hand you've got regardless. If the people managing the park's whole strategy is, "We didn't cause this," that's not going to fix anything.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:17 PM

^^^^ Agreed. If the park wasn't even open, how could they use $273,000 worth of electricity-- even if the power hadn't been disconnected? It appears Penelec is putting the backcharges on more recent statements charged to the old accounts.


Since my first try at this the copy/paste didn't take, the article also mentions that Penelec and the trustees set up new accounts in 2008 and they are not delinquent on any of those.

Last edited by RatherGoodBear, Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:19 PM
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:30 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Ken Jones said:
That is why the Liskos are on their own account they are not behind in any payments and same with Park Restoration LLC


Ken Jones said:
Some debt is already starting to get paid off from money raised by the board who gets a percentage from what the others make as part of the Lease agreements.

From the Article: The statement dates on the accounts listed in the suit range from June 2007 to March 2008.

I don't understand how the current regime could have accrued that much debt when the park wasn't even open then.

<edit>

You beat me to the punch a bit RGB. :)

Last edited by Jason Hammond, Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:31 PM

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 7:44 PM
LostKause's avatar

Ken, I was quite interest in hearing your answer to Carries question that you ignored in your last post.

Whatdoes it mean that you indicate you are a representative of the park?How did you get that position and what duties do you have?

I'm asking because I want to be a representative of an amusement park too. ;)

You do seem to know what you are talking about.


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 8:42 PM
ridemcoaster's avatar

Its a trap Ken.. Run dude Run!! :)


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:55 PM
LostKause's avatar

HAHA...Carrie and LK working TOGETHER? That would be like He man and Skeletor working together, which only happened twice in the old MotU series.


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 12:00 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Nah, more like Snoopy and The Red Baron...;)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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