City settles with former attorney in sewer dispute

Oak Harbor’s insurance company has awarded a longtime former city attorney with a $2,391 settlement.

John Wold, who worked as Oak Harbor’s lawyer for about 20 years beginning in the 1950s, filed a claim for damages against the city on May 29. Wold was asking for $4,783 in connection with a dispute over a broken sewer line.

Wold was away at his residence in Tucson, Ariz., this past winter when a sewer line became dysfunctional at one of his rental properties. In his claim, Wold said that his rental manager was told by “city staff” that the problem was the city’s responsibility and to have a contractor do the work.

However, the city later refused to reimburse him for the cost of the repairs, Wold said. He claims he was told by a city representative in a meeting with his rental manager that the financial responsibility was his per city code.

According to Wold, work was done to a sewer line that belonged to both himself and the city, and that it shouldn’t be the homeowner’s burden to repair publicly owned infrastructure.

“This repair was done by a contractor paid by the homeowner because of the city’s failure to perform,” wrote Wold, in a letter to the city.

Oak Harbor’s insurance company, the Washington Cities Insurance Authority, offered to settle with Wold for half of his claim, as work was done to his sewer line as well as the city’s.

Wold said the settlement was a fair compromise and he does not plan to pursue legal action to recover the remainder of his claim.

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