Pennichuck seeks injunction to halt Nashua eminent domain petition — Pennichuck Corp, 4/8/04

Press release

Contact: Donald L. Correll, President and CEO, 603-882-5191

Pennichuck Corporation (NASDAQ: PNNW) today announced it has filed a motion in Hillsborough County Superior Court that asks for a preliminary injunction to restrain the city of Nashua from pursuing the taking of Pennichuck property outside the city that is not necessary to provide water service within the city.

Pennichuck also asked the court, in an amended petition for declaratory judgment, for a permanent injunction against the city’s pursuit of its petition to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on the grounds it is unlawful.

“We have asked the court to prohibit Nashua from proceeding with its PUC petition in order to stop the irreparable harm being done to Pennichuck and its subsidiaries that began fourteen months ago,” said Donald L. Correll, Pennichuck president and chief executive officer. “Given the magnitude of these issues, we have asked the court to expedite its consideration so as not to prolong the time and expense of additional legal proceedings before the PUC.”

In seeking the injunctions, Pennichuck said the city’s attempt to take properties outside of Nashua is illegal under New Hampshire law, and that the continuation of the eminent domain process would result in additional significant loss of business to the company. The motion also noted that it is in the public interest to halt the PUC petition because serious questions of Nashua’s legal authority have been raised.

Pennichuck’s February 4 petition for declaratory judgment seeks judicial review of and equal rights under New Hampshire law governing municipal takeover of utilities by eminent domain.

The petition asks the court to intervene to end the limbo in which Pennichuck finds itself because of the city of Nashua’s failure to act for more than a year after a referendum vote purporting to authorize the city to pursue taking Pennichuck’s assets by eminent domain. The petition also cites the fact that Nashua’s behavior has caused and continues to cause substantial financial damage to Pennichuck, and is hindering the company’s ability to pursue new business opportunities.

In the amended petition filed today, Pennichuck submitted new arguments based on the city’s March 25 petition to the PUC. Specifically, the company asks the court to issue a declaratory judgment that:
  • the city’s petition is unlawful because it seeks to take Pennichuck property not needed to provide water service within Nashua;
  • the city has exceeded its legal and inherent municipal powers by seeking to acquire property by eminent domain on behalf of a regional water district that does not yet exist and would not have eminent domain authority.

About Pennichuck Corporation
Pennichuck Corporation is a holding company located in Nashua, New Hampshire with three wholly owned operating subsidiaries involved in regulated water supply and distribution in Nashua and towns throughout southern and central New Hampshire; non-regulated, water-related services conducted through Pennichuck Water Service Company; and real estate management and development activities conducted through The Southwood Corporation.

Pennichuck Corporation is traded on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol "PNNW."

Pennichuck Corp: www.pennichuck.com