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Guard Up Faces Deadline on Insurance Compliance at East Boston Camps

The Conservation Commission put a deadline of 30 days from their Wednesday meeting for the Burlington-based company to come into compliance with terms specified on their lease for this year and last year.

The Guard Up Summer Day Camp has 30 days as of Wednesday to come into compliance for this year and last year on insurance agreements specified on its lease for the Day Camp at the East Boston Camps.

That was the message sent by the Conservation Commission following a discussion at their last meeting in late July over concerns that the Burlington-based company was not meeting requirements under its lease with the Conservation Commission over insurance.

Members of the board in attendance were unanimous in their concern over the issue, with a 4-1 majority believing that giving Guard Up the deadline was a necessary step to protect the town from possible liability.

Only Robert Boonstra dissented, citing fears that a showdown could potentially disrupt the revenue obtained from the company’s presence at the Camps.

“We’re certainly within our rights to do this. Shame on them and shame on the town for not catching it, but this is not wise,” said Boonstra. “We want to do everything to make the lease a success; this is not a ‘gotcha’ situation.”

However, others on the board believed that unless the potential issue can be resolved, Guard Up’s continued tenancy would not be beneficial.

Members of the audience spoke in agreement with the board’s decision during public comment, noting the insurance issue as well as concerns of if the lease would become revenue neutral and the loss of access to portions of the camp by local residents while Guard Up’s camps are in session.

Westford resident June McMorrow told the board she does not feel safe on the East Boston Camp’s North Road while Guard Up is in session and feared that local residents were being treated as second class to Guard Up thanks to the lease.

Under the lease itself, Guard Up is mandated to provide a five to six figure minimum insurance coverage figure on policies relating to general liability, abuse and molestation liability, property damage, automobile liability, workers’ compensation, and umbrella and excess liability.

A woman coming before the board earlier in the evening requesting to serve alcohol during a wedding reception at the East Boston Camps in September told the board that it cost approximately $320 to obtain a comparable amount of coverage required in the Guard Up lease.

Meghan Gardner August 20, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Our actions were not in "bad faith". We provided all paperwork that was requested of us. We made a mistake - as humans are capable of doing - and attempted to rectify that mistake the moment it was brought to our attention. There are many emails documenting this. Your assertions that we lied or purposely deceived ConsCom are false allegations. The statement that we did not meet the lease requirements is true. We admit to this mistake. However, you are throwing accusations around regarding intent that have no foundation and are libelous in nature. We are assessing our options which include trying to comply with the requirements or allowing the termination of the lease.
Meghan Gardner August 20, 2012 at 08:18 PM
There are some additional points that should be covered regarding this issue: 1) Thus far, we have been told by two insurance vendors that the insurance policy requirements for this lease are not only far in excess of industry standards, it is not possible to meet these requirements without a custom policy. 2) The cost of this policy would be in excess of the cost of the lease itself (which is $22,000) for 5 weeks of operation. 3) It seems that none of the other lessees of the East Boston Camps are required to hold the same insurance requirements that are listed in the lease - including the 5th Grade Camp and the Boy Scouts of America. These points do not change the fact that we mistakenly failed to meet the requirements. But they shed some light on the shared responsibility in this matter. We are trying to find a solution that will meet the requirements of the lease. But the lease, as it stands right now, does not seem to be feasible for any organization of our size.
R Gagnon August 20, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Westford is not responsible for GuardUp's mistakes. The fact that GuardUp signed the lease agreement with or without an understanding of the terms of the lease is on GuardUp. We have already heard all these from Mr. Wegman. Seems he was pretty well versed on all the reasons that GuardUp did not have the required level of insurance within a day of being notified of the lease violation. And oh by the way, there was in fact a reportable incident during the 2011 camp season that he just happened to learn of at the very same time the CC put GuardUp on notice. Coincidence? I don't believe in them. You can keep on insisting this was no more than a simple mistake but I, for just one, am not buying it. GuardUp insists on access restrictions for the safety of the kids but fails to carry the required insurance that protects Westford from those same types of problems!!?? And it isn't until GuardUp is called on it that they now say the insurance is cost prohibitive. Do you really think people are that gullible? There is no comparison between Boy Scouts/5th grade camp and a for profit business operation like GuardUp. The town has their insurance and the Boy Scouts have theirs. Those points are totaly irrelevant to the issue of lease violation by GuardUp.
Meghan Gardner August 20, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Mr. Gagnon, All actions taken by Guard Up are public record via emails sent to the ConsCom and reports filed with the state of Massachusetts. You can choose to not believe that this was a mistake - but your public accusations regarding intent are false and inflammatory. We have done everything in our power to correct our mistake. You would prefer to think that we are less than honorable because of your own agenda. I will continue to refute your claims because they are wrong... not because I believe that you will change your mind. You have made your ill intentions towards our company quite clear.
Andrew Sylvia August 20, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Okay, I think things are getting out of hand here. Closing comments.

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