When the long-time operators of the Stow Lake boathouse vacated the premises earlier this month after a nasty legal battle, the new operators came in to discover that the old ones left them a present.
Poop. The present was poop, sitting under a bright red Beanie Baby.
When a group of people went to the boathouse...they walked past the "welcome" mound and into the kitchen, which was spick-and-span except for the following items: a Bible, a stuffed crow and a picture that one friend described as "the love child of Tina Fey and Mike Myers."
Bitter feelings from the boathouse's old operators toward its new ones is to be expected.
The city-owned boathouse had been in Bruce McLellan's family since its construction over 68 years ago. Over the past five years, the city's Recreation and Parks Department repeatedly put the contract for the boathouse out to bid, rejecting each of the proposals it received as offering insufficient capital improvements.
Eventually, the department settled on a proposal from New Mexico-based Ortega Family Enterprises.
McLellan felt the selection process was unfair and that he was being railroaded out of his long-held family business. He sued the city and the resulting litigation brought to light that Parks Department officials had instructed Ortega to hire a specific lobbyist to shepherd their bid though the approval process. The resulting scandal shook city government and ended with the high-profile lobbyist resigning from his advisory position on the Dennis Herrera and George Gasćon campaigns.
Even so, the eviction went through and McLellan was forced to vacate the boathouse by 5pm on September 15th. When the new owners came in at 5:01pm that evening, the poop was discovered.
Though Ortega is currently in the process of moving into the boathouse, there's still a chance McLellan will be reinstated if he comes out victorious in another lawsuit winding its way though the courts. "I am confident we will prevail [in that suit] and I'll be reinstated as the operator of the boathouse," McLellan said. "I'm going to come back in a year and all the improvements they're making, they will have made for me."
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