Elkridge pet cemetery owner is denied bankruptcy protection, open to claims

December 19, 1996|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

The bankruptcy filing by the owner of Elkridge's Rosa Bonheur Memorial pet cemetery has been dismissed on a technicality, opening the door for 16 disgruntled pet owners to seek thousands of dollars in claims against him.

William A. Green filed for Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy protection and reorganization in late October. But the case was dismissed Dec. 6 after Green missed a deadline for filing certain records, including a statement of financial affairs, said Lynn Gregg, senior investigator at the Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs.

That office, acting on behalf of the pet owners, filed a civil suit against Green in early October alleging he violated consumer protection laws.

The bankruptcy filing would have limited county attorneys' chances of getting a monetary judgment in a "show cause" hearing set for Monday, county attorneys said.

Senior Assistant County Solicitor Louis P. Ruzzi said he now hopes the county will be able to seek a judgment ordering Green to pay former customers who allege they received the wrong pet ashes or never received markers ordered for their pets' graves.

"Now we can try and go for the whole thing, including monetary relief against Green," Ruzzi said.

Green cannot refile his bankruptcy petition for 180 days. Neither Green nor his attorney, Jeffrey C. Hines of Baltimore, could be reached for comment.

Ruzzi warned that monetary relief may be a distant dream for the 16 pet owners.

"Whether he files [for bankruptcy] again or not, there's no dTC guarantee we can shake money out of this guy," Ruzzi said.

Board of Appeals delays action on development

The Howard County Board of Appeals delayed action yesterday on a 74-home development in Ellicott City after an attorney for area residents argued that the developer had not submitted such information as a traffic study and a drainage system in a sketch plan to the Howard County Planning Board.

Residents' attorney Susan Gray also said that Bonnie Branch Corp., which is owned by the Taylor family and owns 400 acres in the area, has plans for a nursing home, but only submitted their plans for the housing development to the Department of Planning and Zoning.

"They're trying to get their cake and eat it, too," Gray said.

But an attorney for Bonnie Branch denied any plans for development beyond the houses.

"There are no plans for a nursing home. There never have been," said attorney Ronald Spahn. "It's just not in the cards."

The Taylor family also has an 89-year-old psychiatric hospital on College Avenue in Ellicott City.

Area residents had testified in August that the proposed entrance from the Bonnie Branch housing development onto College Avenue would make the dangerous, scenic road -- known as "Seven Hills" for its steep rises -- even worse.

"It's not that we don't want them to do the project or develop the land, but we're talking about adding almost 80 houses with a lot more traffic to roads that are already bad," said William Smith, president of the Bonnie Branch/Ilchester Community Association.

Added Ryan Simmons, who lives on Bonnie Branch Road: "One of the reasons I moved into the area was because I wanted to maintain the scenic roads and not tear down more trees and add more traffic to ruin the rural look.

"This development will change that."

Man robs High's store in Ellicott City

Howard County police are investigating the robbery of a High's convenience store in Ellicott City yesterday morning.

A man entered the store at Rogers Avenue and Town and Country Boulevard about 10: 20 a.m. and browsed around the store, said Sgt. Steven Keller, a police spokesman.

After the man purchased a magazine, he pulled out a black semiautomatic handgun and demanded money from the store's register, Keller said.

When the store clerk placed the undisclosed amount of cash on the counter, the robber took the money and fled on foot, police said.

The suspect is described as a clean-shaven black male with a weathered face, between 30 and 35 years old, with a slim to medium build and short black hair. He was wearing a green shirt or jacket.

Man attempts to rob Elkridge convenience store

A man tried to rob a Shell convenience station early yesterday in the 6200 block of U.S. 1 in Elkridge, Howard County police said.

The man approached the clerk at the service window about 1: 50 a.m., pulled back his jacket to show a handgun and demanded the clerk put money in a sliding metal tray.

When the clerk refused to cooperate, the man ran away.

The man is described as a clean-shaven white male with dirty blond hair, between 19 and 35 years old, standing 6 feet tall, weighing 185 pounds and wearing a gold chain, denim jacket and pants.

Pub Date: 12/19/96

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