Closing Statements in Mountain Water Trial Set for Monday – Friday Concludes Testimony from Kappes and Nugent
Testimony wrapped up at the Missoula County Courthouse on Friday in the Mountain Water Company condemnation lawsuit. On the stand were Mountain Water Company President John Kappes and Missoula City Attorney Jim Nugent. Kappes was first to take the stand for a second time during the trial and publicized the numerous awards Mountain Water has received for service, and he defended the way Mountain Water has chosen to invest in infrastructure.
"And it was also telling potential bidders," the prosecution questioned, "that if they were to buy the Mountain Water system, Mountain Water Company, or the Missoula water system, there was a great opportunity to acquire other water utilities into the city, correct?"
"Yes, that's because there's about 140 small water systems just in Missoula County alone," Kappes said.
The prosecution pressed on and encouraged that "it might be in the interest of a parent company to go out and acquire other utilities, right?"
Nugent is no stranger to Mountain Water Company either. In fact, he was involved the first time Missoula tried to condemn the water utility in 1983 and lost.
In his Friday testimony he read from an email chain that referred to the sale of Mountain Water to out of state enterprises and that the risk of such a transaction “wouldn’t consider the needs of the citizens of Missoula.”
"In your opinion," the defense asked Nugent, "do you agree that the sale of Mountain Water Company to yet another for-profit, out of state enterprise would not be in the best interests of the citizens of Missoula? Do you agree with that?"
"Absolutely," Nugent said.
Closing statements from both parties are scheduled for Monday.