Wilton Letter: Facts of Clune’s ‘Conflicts of Interest — Ambler Farm’
To the Editors:
The Letters to the Editors by David Clune, Second Selectman, and Lynne Vanderslice, First Selectman, published online on Sept. 3 and Sept. 4, respectively, are lacking in their candor to the residents of Wilton.
The Town of Wilton owns Ambler Farm.
(Town of Wilton Tax Assessor Field Card, Vision ID: 1538, Account # 000098)
The Town of Wilton’s acquisition of Ambler Farm was pursuant to an Executors’ Deed.
(The Town of Wilton Land Records, Volume 1200, Page 163)
Ambler Farm is run by Friends of Ambler Farm, Inc. David Clune’s wife, Robin, is its executive director.
David Clune is the second selectman for the Town of Wilton.
David Clune is on the Board of Trustees (2019-2020) for the Wilton Historical Society.
David Clune is a trustee for the Elizabeth Raymond Ambler Trust (ERA Trust). David Clune’s father, also David Clune, is also a trustee for ERA Trust.
Conflicts of Interest Regarding Ambler Farm:
The undeniable fact is that the ERA Trust has complete control over, and an ongoing interest in, Ambler Farm.
The Executors’ Deed transferring Title to the Town contains restrictive deed covenants (restrictions). These restrictions pertain to the control, maintenance, ongoing use, and right of reversion of Ambler Farm. These restrictions are supervised on an ongoing basis by the trustees of the ERA Trust.
Pursuant the Executors’ Deed, the ERA Trust is to pay funds annually to those “…chargeable with maintaining and preserving the restricted use…” here, the Friends of Ambler Farm. If the financial burden to adhere to the restrictions are too high, the town may give ‘notice’ to the ERA Trust and to the Wilton Historical Society seeking to vacate those restrictions. Once the ‘notice’ is received, the ERA Trust “…shall have the right to reacquire the land and buildings…” “The reconveyance price shall be seventy percent (70%) of fair market value…”
Therefore, if David Clune’s wife asserts that Ambler Farm is not receiving enough money from the ERA Trust, of which Clune and his father are two of the three trustees, she may petition the town, for which Clune is the second selectman, and the Wilton Historical Society, for which Clune is a trustee, for redress. The Town may then give ‘Notice’ to the ERA Trust for an accommodation, for which Clune and his father, representing a majority vote, may take back Ambler Farm from the town for 70 cents on the dollar.
A conflict of interest is a situation in which a person has a duty to more than one person or organization but cannot do justice to the actual or potentially adverse interests of both parties. Here, Clune has a direct connection with four (4) separate and distinct entities, all of which have their separate interests, and which all have an interest in Ambler Farm. Therefore, David Clune has a clear conflict of interest with regard to Ambler Farm, and for David Clune and Lynne Vanderslice to state otherwise, in light of the facts presented, is not possible.
Editor’s Note: Second Selectman David Clune is not a trustee of the Wilton Historical Society. His father, Dr. David Clune, is a trustee.