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Pfizer Suing Borough Over Site

The West Chester Borough will face off against the pharmaceutical giant in court.

The following is a press release from the West Chester Borough.

On April 11, 2012, Pfizer, Inc. caused Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to file a lawsuit (Docket Number 2012-03734-MJ) in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas against the Borough of West Chester regarding Wyeth’s/Pfizer’s continuing contractual obligation to contribute to the maintenance of the Borough’s Goose Creek Sewer Treatment Plant. On or about October 15, 2009, Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers acquired Wyeth/Pfizer for approximately $68 Billion Dollars.

The lawsuit involves Wyeth’s/Pfizer’s attempt to avoid its continuing contractual obligation to contribute to the ongoing maintenance costs associated with the operation of the Borough’s Goose Creek Sewer Treatment Plant, which currently is approximately $800,000 per year. The Goose Creek Sewer Treatment Plant was constructed in the late 1980’s in cooperation with Wyeth/Pfizer for the specific purpose of constructing a specialized plant to accommodate the pharmaceutical waste discharged by Wyeth/Pfizer, which waste was causing the malfunction of the Borough’s existing sewer treatment plant. In connection with the construction of the treatment plant and as a result of the substantial benefit derived by Wyeth/Pfizer from the construction which permitted Wyeth to continue its operations, Wyeth entered into a written agreement with the Borough under the terms of which Wyeth/Pfizer agreed to contribute to the cost of the construction of the plant and the ongoing maintenance costs.

In 2004, Wyeth/Pfizer decided to close its facilities on South Bolmar Street and all of the buildings at that site were demolished by 2006. However, in accordance with the terms of the Goose Creek Sewer Agreement with the Borough, Wyeth/Pfizer continued making its required ongoing maintenance payments to the Borough.

In late 2011, representatives from Wyeth/Pfizer notified the Borough that Wyeth/Pfizer was objecting to making further payments under the Goose Creek Sewer Agreement, and in an attempt to amicably resolve the dispute, the Borough met with Pfizer representatives in February 2012 to discuss a method to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Recently, settlement proposals had been exchanged between Wyeth/Pfizer and the Borough. However, in a sudden departure from these ongoing negotiations, Wyeth/Pfizer filed its lawsuit.

Wyeth/Pfizer now inexplicably assert, among other things, that notwithstanding Wyeth’s/Pfizer’s willing payment of its share of ongoing maintenance costs for the Goose Creek Plant through calendar year 2011, in accordance with the terms of the Agreement, that the Goose Creek Agreement should have ended in 2004, and as result Wyeth/Pfizer is now seeking a refund of all payments willingly made to the Borough since 2004.

The Goose Creek Sewer Agreement obligates Wyeth/Pfizer to continue to pay its proportionate share of the Goose Creek Sewer Treatment Plant maintenance costs (approximately $200,000 per calendar quarter) and the Borough intends to enforce Wyeth’s/Pfizer’s continuing obligations. The Borough intends to seek all legal recourse against Wyeth/Pfizer on behalf of the citizens of West Chester for Wyeth’s/Pfizer’s willful violation of the Goose Creek Sewer Agreement.

Milton Bradley April 14, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Build a baseball stadium (funded with municipal bonds) on Pfizer/Wyeth site? In lieu of continued sewer payments from Pfizer, borough council should promise to name stadium and new bush league team after Pfizer. The Fighting Pfizer Pill Pushers? The Wyeth property has become an albatross around council's neck. I suspect Pfizer, with their deep pockets and knowledge that the borough is financially on the ropes, knows this. The borough, once again, finds itself mired in litigation. This seems to be a systemic problem for the town. Why?
Milton Bradley April 14, 2012 at 12:15 PM
I should also add that council had a chance to offload the Wyeth property when the PREIT developers and Sartomer showed interest in developing the Wyeth property. Council nixed both entreaties based on political reasons, i.e., local monied interests trumped common sense. Shameless greed keeps council in court, I guess.
Resident April 17, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Too bad about PRIET - they wanted to develop a very condensed site with housing, retail, parking, etc and make a mini-town. All of the retailers fought the idea. Along with some of the residents & local businesses. And, given PRIET's financial status these days, the plans never would have gotten off of the drawing board. Sartomer has to deal with Wyeth, to buy the land, not the Borough. A ball stadium? Sure, let the Borough use grant money from the state and borrow the rest to buy the whole property, develope half for a stadium and then have to figure out what to with the rest. Even ig league developers can't sell the property. But what about the offers that Wyeth has had over the years, that aren't being talked about? There have been a number, but they've all been rejected because Wyeth is too greedy to settle for less than the 15 or 20 million they think the site is worth.

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