Editor: A high-powered corporate lawyer of my acquaintance once told me that most of the corporation vs. corporation lawsuits he has handled to the tune of millions of dollars in fees, usually are all caused by the principals refusing to sit down together and work out a compromise.
I was reminded of this discussion when listening to the White’s Ferry item before the Board of Supervisors. For Mr. Kuhn to say, “short of eminent domain I don’t know if the ferry will ever reopen” and the Rockland folks to say they have made multiple offers only to not receive the courtesy of reply is really shocking when the issue is about a transportation facility of historic and economic importance.
The comments of the supervisors were rational, understanding, and balanced, but one could have hoped for a supervisor to shout at the protagonists “it’s all about price, stupid, settle it!”
Rockland Farm has a long history of community service in Loudoun and allowed the ferry to run as a public service for decades, but now seeks a reasonable return on the lease rights. But until there are negotiations there is no way to know what “reasonable” is particularly now that the study has pointed out serious physical, capacity, and financial problems, and choices. Essentially all of Rockland’s previous offers should be set aside and new negotiations started with the new information available.
The position of the ferry owner, Chuck Kuhn, is harder to figure out, at least to me. Over the past few years Mr. Kuhn has been remarkable in his contributions to the future of Loudoun through his conservation easement acquisitions, his donations of food to needy families, his multiple business interests with Data Centers, and the success of the core business of JK Moving as a corporate citizen and taxpayer.
For these generous and constructive contributions to Loudoun’s future, Mr. Kuhn has been recognized multiple times by Loudoun organizations including the prestigious award as a Loudoun Laureate in 2020. Therefore, I have a difficult time rationalizing Kuhn’s refusal to negotiate and instead demand the Board of Supervisors crush, on his behalf, the Rockland Farm property owners. It is a mystery to me why a leading citizen of Loudoun would willingly desire to have this “black mark” chalked up against his otherwise great reputation.
As my corporate lawyer friend said sometimes the desire to “win” replaces the commonsense solution of negotiating. Only Chuck Kuhn can make that decision.
Al Van Huyck, Round Hill