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Boonsboro couple claims 'squatter's rights'

March 22, 2002|BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Asserting they have "squatter's rights," a Boonsboro attorney and his wife are challenging The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, D.C.'s, right to 26 acres in Washington County that was given to the organization.

Three plots encompassing 26 acres near Park Hall Road were deeded to the organization by the Walter Cinibulk Family Trust in December 2000.

In February 2001, the Boys and Girls Club received a letter from Boonsboro attorney Matthew Leefer claiming possession of the property.

The Boys and Girls Club filed a lawsuit in the Washington County Courthouse on Feb. 5 claiming sole ownership of the property. The Boys and Girls Club is a nonprofit group that provides extracurricular activities to disadvantaged children.

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Leefer and his spouse, Celeste Maiorana of 20905 Park Hall Road, on March 13 filed a counterclaim of ownership of the property in Washington County Circuit Court.

In their counterclaim, Leefer said his wife owns property adjoining the 26 acres in question and they have used it as their own for 27 years.

Leefer said in the counterclaim that the 26 acres essentially had been abandoned by The Boys and Girls Club and previous owners. Leefer and his wife have used the property continuously for more than 20 years, making it theirs, Leefer said in the counterclaim.

"Ms. (Celeste) Maiorana has actually used and possessed the (26 acres deeded to the Boys and Girls Club) property openly, continuously, adversely and with claim of right to do so since 1969; exclusively from 1969 to 1975 and exclusively together with Mr. Leefer from 1975 through present time," according to Leefer's counterclaim.

Leefer said in a phone interview Monday that he and his spouse have used the property "in various ways," but would not be more specific.

Boys and Girls Club attorney Michael Bentzen said the group wants to use proceeds from the sale of the property for its programs. A portion of the 26 acres has been farmed but the rest remains wooded, Bentzen said.

"We have no plans to put a camp there," he said.

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