Sun. May 19th, 2024

By Investigative Reporter Linda Sutter – March 18, 2024

The Crescent City Harbor District (CCHD) finds itself at a crossroads, teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. A recent legal settlement with Fashion Blacksmith has left the district in dire financial straits. Following a court judgement at Del Norte Superior Court, CCHD is obligated to pay Fashion Blacksmith a staggering $2.6 million, plus 5% interest over a decade. A down payment of $100,000 is due April 1, 2024, sending the administration into a frantic search for loans, to no avail.

With only $250,000 allocated for operating cost until the end of the fiscal year and another hefty payment of $375,000 looming on March 1, 2025, the district faces a daunting financial abyss. Despite receiving approximately $300,000 annually from Transient Occupancy Tax, a repayment mechanism for a USDA loan secured after the 2011 Tsunami-the CCHD lacks a coherent strategy for generating future revenue.

Compounding the issue is the dilapidated state of the Blacksmith building with no funds earmarked for its upkeep or plans for generating income from its vacancy. As the specter of bankruptcy looms, questions arise about the broader implications for Crescent City Harbor.

If the CCHD succumbs to bankruptcy, the harbor could be put up for auction, potentially falling into the hands of private entities like Alex Lemus, who might envision transforming the harbor into a private marina. Such a shift could herald significant changes for the community and the harbor accessibility.

As stakeholders grapple with the unfolding crisis, the future of Crescent City Harbor hangs in the balance, its fate entwined with the decisions made in the coming months. Will it be a tale of revival or relinquishment to private interests? Only time will tell the outcome of this precarious situation.

  1. Sounds like the Harbor Commission needs to hurry and give the Harbor Master a big raise or they won’t have any money left to give him. If there is any final looting to be done, it needs to be done quickly.

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