Union Township at odds with supervisor’s mother over airport tree trimming

October 29, 2013

GASTONVILLE – Union Township is once again at odds with a supervisor’s mother and her attorney over the trimming of trees on their family property at the approach of a local airport, this time over an unpaid bill for the work.

Township supervisors Monday instructed their solicitor to give notice to the attorney representing Mary Parish, mother of Supervisor Steve Parish, to return the $14,000 the township paid to have the trees trimmed near Finleyville Airport or the township will take legal action to get the money, supervising Chairman Linda Evans-Boren said.

“We want to close this case,” Evans-Boren said, adding the legal battle has cost the township more than $70,000 since 2005.

“This is taxpayer money.”

The township has been in a lengthy legal battle with the Parish family to get the trees near the runway removed to comply with state and federal regulations that require a clear path to runways.

Evans-Boren said the supervisors reached an agreement in April to place $14,000 into an escrow account managed by Parish’s attorney, John J. Armenis, to pay for the tree removal, work that was carried out by Wolfgang Timber of Venetia.

Attorney Sam Kamin, a partner in the firm where Armenis is employed, said there is no mention in the revised April 8 agreement indicating the money should go to Wolfgang, and it is “backed up in writing” that the money would be paid to Mary Parish.

“That was agreed to by all parties and their lawyer,” Kamin said.

Union solicitor Chris Furman on Tuesday released a copy of the agreement, which indicates Parish had hired Wolfgang and the township agreed to pay for the removal of the trees.

It further indicated the money would be released by Mary Parish from the escrow account after the trees were removed.

Furman declined to comment because the case has yet to be resolved.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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