Tempers flared at a rare Thursday meeting of the Augusta Ports Authority, with the city’s marina operator accusing authority members of burglary.
Mike Stacy, who has run the marina for 13 years under leases approved by the authority, presented an incident report showing deputies responded to reports of a burglary in progress at two different closed marina buildings Dec. 31.
Arriving at the Fifth Street marina, they found authority Chairman Wayne Hawkins and board member Paul Muckenfuss, who told deputies he saw an open back door when the alarm sounded, according to the report.
Stacy disagreed, telling deputies that the door was locked when he arrived and that the only means of entry was a special key that he and Hawkins had. The report listed a “key” as the manner of entry and said there was no evidence of damage.
Hawkins said Stacy’s company, Mobile Marine, didn’t even have the right to be there, claiming city attorneys told him the firm’s lease was “null and void.”
The firm’s lease of the marina is under review for performance-related issues, but Mobile Marine has not been evicted, city Administrator Fred Russell said.
Muckenfuss called Stacy’s claim “the biggest bunch of hogwash” and threatened to sue him. Stacy said he’d already had to “hire a real expensive attorney” but wouldn’t say who the attorney was or what marina document he said Hawkins and Muckenfuss took from the building.
Authority member Mike Barnes called for “a spirit of cooperation” but bemoaned Augusta Commission appointees with no knowledge or interest in the marina or maritime activities.
Hawkins reminded the group that his term expired in March and suggested the authority select a lieutenant chairman.
According to commission records, five members’ terms expire in March and a sixth next year. Six other appointees’ terms expired in prior years, with no replacements named.