By Cristina Kumka
Green Mountain Marketing & Advertising, Inc. is suing the Killington Chamber of Commerce for $5,000.
Green Mountain Marketing & Advertising, Inc., run by Kasia Karazim and Bill Ackerman, a member of the Killington’s Economic Development and Tourism Commission, filed suit in July but the first hearing was held in Rutland Civil Court last Thursday, Oct. 30.
A judge has yet to make a decision in the case.
According to court documents, Ackerman claims his company was contracted by the Chamber in August 2013 to build a website. But in November of that year, the Chamber asked the company to stop the work, claiming there was no signed contract and no money to pay for the work completed.
Green Mountain Marketing & Advertising, Inc. produced the signed contract and was offered $2,000 by the Chamber to settle the matter, according to court records.
However, the company rejected that amount. It then agreed to a $4,000 payment and the remaining amount in trade.
The suit claims the Chamber didn’t respond for months and never made due on that agreement.
On June 30 of this year, the Chamber told the company if it wanted more than $2,000 it could take the issue to court.
The company claims its work was approved and it was “continually asked to move forward,” and the Chamber owes $7,211 for the work. The company says it will settle for $5,000.
Court records also show a number of Chamber members were subpoenaed to court on Oct. 30.
The Chamber has denied the suit in its entirety, claiming the “contract was not validly entered,” excessive billing and five other claims.
A full transcript of the Oct. 30 hearing was unavailable by press time.
Ackerman continues to maintain a seat on the EDTC commission and voted this September in favor of repealing a portion of the town’s local option tax, which would involve a complete restructuring of the Killington Chamber of Commerce, turning it into a private sector non-profit.
That non-profit, called the Killington Pico Area Association, would intercept future tourism money, taking it away from municipal coffers, but also taking on the responsibility of creating year-round tourism opportunities and events. Killington Resort, in the event it doesn’t have to pay a portion of the local option tax anymore, would largely fund the KPAA, according to the proposal. The new KPAA would have an estimated budget of $450,000 in 2015.
Voters are expected to consider the question on the March 2015 ballot.
Ackerman says he supports restructuring the Chamber because it will be stronger than it is now.
“As a member of the EDTC, I supported moving this over to that structure because it will make it stronger than it is today. Because of the involvement of Killington Resort, there will be added involvement, both financial and oversight, and that will make a much stronger and effective organization,” Ackerman said Tuesday.
“I am not basing my comments on how the Chamber was structured last year. I’m basing it on what I expect and have heard from those proposing this new structure.”
Seth Webb, Killington town manager, said the town is not a party in the case and he could not comment. Amy Morrison, an events coordinator employed by both the town and chamber, was asked to testify in court Oct. 30.
Ackerman’s company is being represented by Attorney Jim Levins and the Chamber is being represented by Attorney Thomas Aicher.
Editor’s note: A Mountain Times employee was subpoenaed into court in this case but provided no information for this article. All information about the case came from court records.
Cristina Kumka is a correspondent for The Mountain Times, [email protected]