Brooke, Pswid To Meet Today

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Brooke Utilities owner Bob Hardcastle and the seven members of the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District Board will huddle at 4 p.m. today behind closed doors.

The posted agenda for the meeting, which carries the wrong date of June 7 instead of July 7, says the executive session is to discuss the acquisition of Pine and Strawberry water companies and the public session of the meeting allows the board to discuss and take possible action regarding the acquisition of the water companies.

Neither side will reveal what is to be discussed in the executive session meeting, but water users in the two mountain hamlets are certain it’s the district’s acquisition of the Pine and Strawberry water companies from Brooke, the parent company.

Hardcastle and the board have long had a contentious relationship, but it was Hardcastle who last month asked for the sit down meeting without either side’s lawyers.

Hardcastle would not comment on why he asked for the meeting. PSWID board president Bill Haney also refused to discuss the meeting saying, “Given the long history of this issue and the sensitivity of the entire community, I would prefer not to comment at this point in time.”

PSWID has been trying to acquire the two water companies from Brooke since a successful recall election more than a year ago. In April, the PSWID board and Brooke signed a stipulated agreement that would have allowed the district to take possession of the two water companies by May 22.

That agreement, however, fell through when the PSWID failed to deposit a $3.2 million bond with the courts. Currently, the two sides are battling over the purchase in Yavapai Superior Court, where the latest salvo has been a request by Brooke attorneys Jay Shapiro and Bart Wilhoit. The attorneys are asking judge David L Mackey to hear oral arguments concerning BU’s request for sanctions against PSWID.

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