PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – This week, Dunedin city leaders are going to have to decide who they believe: the liveaboard boater who claims he is being evicted by the city’s marina over a minor fuel spill or the former city employee who says this was no minor spill.
Eric Curtis contacted 8 On Your Side last week, saying he lives on board his vessel with his son and was being told he had to leave over a minor spill. Curtis lives on the boat with his dog Lucy and 13-year old son. He explains, the boat in the slip next to his leaked some fuel in September.
“She had a little bit of fuel, maybe three ounces from an overfill of her tank,” said Curtis. “And I helped her clean it up.”
But former marina employee Harold Kuemmel tells a different story. He says this was no minor spill and he believes Curtis and other renters were doing what they could to cover it up.
“He talked about three ounces and three ounces in nowhere near. It was more like 40 gallons,” said Kuemmel. “At a minimum, he should have contacted the harbormaster. At a minimum. So that the harbormaster could have contacted me. I would have put the booms in the water. We would have caught it much earlier. It wouldn’t have made it all the way into the sound.”
Kuemmel resigned his position at the marina after having words with Curtis over the spill.
Curtis tells 8 On Your Side, he believes Kuemmel is distorting the facts. “There’s no doubt about it there was a fuel leak. We never, nobody’s hid that. Nobody’s said otherwise,” said Curtis. “I’ve been reading a lot of reports and there’s a lot of false, lies, whatever you want to call it. It’s not the truth and the paperwork is showing it. “
Kuemmel says he has a meeting with the city manager on Tuesday. Curtis and the other slip renter in question have a meeting with city officials on Thursday. City leaders will decide after those meetings which version of events they believe.
Meantime, Kuemmel says if the city doesn’t take action over this spill, he will. He is no longer a city employee, bound by the restraints of a job. He is a private citizen who is concerned about his community and the environment and plans to hire his own attorney and seek legal action if necessary.
“I heard him say a couple of times, it’s not a big deal. I don’t understand why everybody’s making a big deal out of it.” said Kuemmel. “It’s a big deal to me. It’s a big deal to the dolphins. It’s a big deal to the manatees.”
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