By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Grafton – At its July 7 meeting, a strongly divided Grafton Board of Selectmen debated the reappointment of Affordable Housing Trust (GAHT) Chair Edward Prisby. What was to have been a nearly pro-forma discussion and vote devolved into a lengthy reiteration of what Prisby had allegedly been involved with earlier in the year, when a legal settlement with Pulte Homes became an issue of contention.
In April, a settlement between Pulte Builders and the town of Grafton was the subject of a disagreement between town officials during the Board of Selectmen’s meeting. In January, town officials had announced they had reached a $1.3 million settlement with Pulte Homes over the profit dispute for the Hilltop Farms Chapter 40B development in South Grafton. Of the $1.3 million total settlement amount, the town said it would retain $900,000 and the rest would cover legal expenses.
Prisby objected to the funds placement into the town’s General Fund, rather than being turned over to GAHT which led to some dispute between the board and Prisby.
At the July 7 meeting, Board Chair Brook Padgett and member Bruce Spinney argued the case for and against Prisby being reappointed to the GAHT, with Padgett strongly disagreeing and Spinney strongly agreeing with the motion to reappoint.
Padgett insisted that Prisby’s objection to the funds’ placement was “disruptive and accusatory” and had personally offended Padgett. He added that Prisby’s attempt to hire a lawyer to fight the Board of Selectmen – and asking the town to pay for it – was a “fiasco.”
Spinney argued that he believed Prisby had acted in the best interests and on behalf of the GAHT.
After much debate, the motion to reappoint Prisby to the GAHT failed narrowly 3-2, with Padgett, Craig Dauphinais, and Jennifer Thomas dissenting.