This will most likely be the last update to this blog. It is a post I have not been looking forward to writing and have been thinking of how to word for a few days.
Under legal advice, Harold and I have decided it is in our best interest to accept the break of our sale agreement and walk away. We do not know what this means for the future of the Big Dipper, but we do know that it will likely not involve us. It is an unfortunate decision but we felt, based on the past few months, that it was the one that had to be made.
At the end of September, we made an agreement with the owners of the Big Dipper to purchase the ride. We sent them a down payment, with the agreement that the rest of the money would be paid after paperwork had been completed showing the legal transfer between the two parties. After the owners received the down payment, we were declared, both publicly and privately, to be the new owners. It has been our belief since that day that we were indeed the owners of the coaster. It was announced, by the owner, Mr Woosnam, to the news media in Cleveland, that we had taken ownership of the coaster as of September 30th. Since that day, I have attempted numerous times to get the legal documentation from him that I had been requesting. I was not willing to send any additional funds until this paperwork was completed. In the meantime, I was working diligently toward finding a new location for the Dipper, securing private funding, and anything else I could do until the project was able to move forward.
By the end of October, I still had not received the paperwork I had been requesting and began the process of preparing, under legal guidance, my own documents that would only need a signature from him. In mid-November, Mr Woosnam contacted us, demanding the rest of the payment, in full, which was in breach of our previously agreed upon agreements and deadlines. He then severed all communication with Harold and myself, refusing to respond to my emails and demands for documentation before further payment or to a renegotiation of sale terms if that was what he wished.
In light of these developments, I sought legal assistance from a lawyer specializing in property law. I was advised that Mr Woosnam was indeed in breach of our sale agreement, and that we had two options: Accept the breach and demand a return of our money, or take him to court and demand the enforcement of our agreement. After much discussion and deliberation, we decided that the first option was the best one, as we felt that even under the direction of a court, we did not stand much chance of succeeding in the enforcement of the agreement. We contacted Mr Woosnam with this decision. He has refused to respond to our attempts to contact him and ignored our demand to return the down payment.
We are still balancing in the middle of a legal battle at this point. Mr Woosnam still holds the money we sent to secure the ownership of the coaster. Lacking the sale documentation that I had requested numerous times, it is questionable as to whom the ownership falls, though as the payment had not been in full, as per our agreement, it is likely that it resides with him still, despite his claims to the transfer in September. If we were to pursue this matter legally, it would be up to a court to decide. However, based on our past interactions, we have decided we will not pursue it legally and will give up any claim to ownership as soon as the money we paid is returned.
It has now been over a month since we demanded the return of our down payment and we are seeking legal assistance in getting it back, as Mr Woosnam has ignored all communication and ignored all demands to repayment.
It is unfortunate that his decision to break the agreement by refusing to submit documentation and arbitrarily changing the payment deadline has meant an end for a project that was progressing well. A relocation venue had been secured, a relocation company had been hired and a large portion of the money needed for the relocation had been secured through private funding. We were only waiting on the paperwork to move ahead and were within weeks of making an announcement.
I apologize that many comments were not approved on the previous post – this was done under legal advice as many contained questions that could not be answered. On this post, I will not be able to approve any comments that include questions towards deeper information than is stated here. This is still a legal matter, and will continue to be until we receive a repayment of our down payment, or, in the best situation, Mr Woosnam decides to abide by our original agreement.
Individuals who have donated money, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can explain the options for the return of your donations, or the options for the redirection of your donations to other preservation efforts in the amusement industry. The good news is, the Big Dipper is not the only coaster that has people trying to save it, and there are many projects that could use the assistance as well.