The ownership claim made by Ben Ramsey and Nisa Counter to a portion of Chilmark property owned by Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation is meritless. The state Land Court decided the matter this month. The court found no substance at all to the Ramsey-Counter position. Not on any grounds.
The judge examined the long, complicated history of ownership of the disputed land and concluded that Ramsey-Counter had no record ownership of the Sheriff’s Meadow land they claimed, or even to a portion of it. Sheriff’s Meadow, the plaintiff in the case, which dates to 2010, offered a “persuasive and correct interpretation of the boundary and chain of title” to its property.
The judge, considering the Ramsey-Counter secondary argument that even if they did not have record title to the property they might legally claim it by adverse possession, said no. Ramsey-Counter had not possessed the land, had not made actual, normal, open, notorious, and adverse use of the property for 20 years, the judge found.
In the news report of the Land Court decision on mvtimes.com, readers will find a link to the complete text of the Land Court’s decision. It is pretty dense, and too few will read it. And anyhow, while the substance of this long, vicious battle was never in doubt, the collateral damage — perpetuated by social media commentators — continues. Superficially, the attacks by Ramsey-Counter partisans appear to be intended to do damage to Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and sunder the organization from its principles. Really, the vile and baseless criticisms do far greater harm to their authors.
If the issue was, Do Ramsey-Counter have a legitimate claim on the land?, the matter is settled. If the issue was, Sheriff’s Meadow ought to have acquiesced before an attempt to extort real estate from a nonprofit conservation organization, whose obligation is to protect the property it has acquired through purchase or gift, and to do it though sub rosa vilification and misrepresentation, then there never was an issue. No right-thinking person, never mind a responsible, historic, nonprofit conservation organization, would sign on to that sort of behavior.