From the Daily Standard’s William Kincaid:
Some Grand Lake area business owners say they want nothing to do with a possible lawsuit blaming farmers for polluting the lake.
Van Winner, president of Bayview Pub, said customers already have come into his restaurant and complained about the proposed lawsuit.
"Of course we’re not (involved)," Winner said. "I don’t agree with the way that they’re going about it; I think it’s the state’s problem. We don’t have any problems with the farmers – we depend on the farmers for our business."
Bill Goodwin, a lakeside campground and marina owner, early this week held a meeting at his home with area individuals to discuss a class-action lawsuit against local farmers whom they blame for the polluted lake and their own loss of revenue.
Goodwin has three out-of-state law firms on board to take the case and already has handed out attorney/client contracts. He said the attorneys hope to get about 100 people signed on but will take the case with just 10.
Goodwin claims several business owners already have signed the contract and returned it to the firms, but he would not reveal any names.
Terry and Donna Temple, owners of Sunny Side Inn off the south side of Grand Lake, said they have fielded calls from people asking if they are part of the lawsuit. They are not, Donna Temple said.
"Everybody should be working together," she said. "This is going to be a major situation here that’s not good."
Business at Sunnyside was down 25 to 30 percent during the summer when the state issued advisories telling people to stay out of the lake’s algae-stricken waters. The algae problem is caused by phosphorous getting into the water with the main source being runoff from the land. More than 80 percent of the lake watershed land is used for agriculture.
Norma Cross, manager of Zuma Thru near Montezuma, also said in no way does she want her business associated with the lawsuit. Cross said she feels farmers for the most part are following the codes and regulations mandated by the Ohio EPA. She wonders how farmers can be sued when they’re doing what they’re supposed to do.
Tammy Todd, a manager at Duckfoot bar, said she first learned of the lawsuit when she read about it in The Daily Standard.
"We want no part of it," she said.