WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A judge ruled in favor of a landscape contractor, giving him legal access to a road that’s the key dispute in a lawsuit filed against the company owned by former state Rep. Jared Nunes and his family.
But despite Judge Richard Licht’s order on Monday that John Read’s landscaping company now has a “right of way easement over Nunes Lane,” the 128-foot road off Industrial Lane remains blocked by jersey barriers, parked vehicles and several piles of stone, sand, and soil.
“I’m still not able to get on my land because Mr. Nunes has decided he will not move the barriers even though it’s been declared a right of way,” Read said. “My son and I saved our money for four years to buy this property and expand our business. And [the Nunes family] took it away.”
Neither Nunes nor his attorney has responded to requests for comment on the judge’s order.
In the past, Nunes said his company did not do anything wrong and he emphasized access to Nunes Lane was never part of the deal when the land was sold in 2016.
About a year after the transaction closed, Read’s Landscape Construction sued 4N Properties, owned by Nunes and his family, alleging “4N Properties illegally altered the deed,” removing Nunes Lane as a right of way to the property.
Records show a legal description of the property that included Nunes Lane as a right of way was approved by West Warwick’s planning board in February 2016.
But about two months before the closing, a different description that omitted the right of way was illegally recorded with the town, according to Read’s lawsuit.
While Read said he would have never bought the land without the right of way, Nunes countered he would have never sold it with the right of way in place.
The town of West Warwick and its former Finance Director are also named in the lawsuit, accused of failing “to follow the correct process and procedure for abandoning a right of way.”
West Warwick Town Solicitor Tim Williamson, who represents the town and former Finance Director John Cimino in the lawsuit, has not responded to requests for comment.
The lawsuit, which will now move forward on the other allegations, claims Read’s Construction has suffered “irreparable harm as a result of the Defendants’ actions.”
While Judge Licht granted Read’s motion for partial summary judgment, he denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment.
Nunes, a Democrat, was a four-term state representative until he decided not to run for re-election last year.