As the battle for the disputed property otherwise known as the ‘Cox Building’, located on the corner of Center and Benson Streets, rages on, new information from different sources appears to practically double the burden of proof on Atty. Sam Solomon, the man claiming custodianship of the place.
Atty. Solomon had earlier said that he has power of Attorney over said property which, according to him, belongs to one Jeremiah Harris. However, in sharp contrast to Atty. Solomon’s claim, Mr. Jeremiah Kringar Harris, told the Daily Observer Friday that he is the grandson of the late Jeremiah Harris, said he does not know Attorney Sam Solomon and wants him to leave his family’s property alone.
In response, Atty. Solomon also told the Daily Observer that he does not know Jeremiah Kringar Harris, and is asking him to leave the property of the late Jeremiah Mulbah Harris of Lofa County alone.
Mr. Kringar Harris, who is also Foreign Policy Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said his grandfather came from Grand Bassa County and settled in Monrovia.
“My grandfather was Jeremiah Harris who served as Secretary of the Treasury under President C.D.B. King and was also Secretary of the Interior under President Edwin Barclay,” Harris said in an interview.
He admitted that the disputed property (Cox Building) at the corner of Benson and Center Streets belongs to the family of the late David F. M. Dean and it is not part of his late father’s (Jeremiah Harris’) estate, adding that he is the legitimate heir to administer “my family’s estate.”
He explained that he is aware of the legal tussle between the heirs of the late David F. M. Dean and Atty Sam Solomon – who told the Daily Observer he represents his wife’s interests – and that he (Kringar Harris) is now willing to give his support to David F.M. Dean’s heirs in the legal effort to get their rightful property back.
Yet, Atty. Solomon insists that a decision reached by the Supreme Court through an arbitration board in 2009, under Mr. Charles F. Caine, must be respected.
“The board ran a small traverse around the disputed area and picked up the points identified by both parties as well as other features like houses,” Atty Solomon told the Daily Observer, reading from a report.
Quoting statements and locations, Atty. Solomon said that after a lengthy examination of lands, deeds and others, the board recommended that the disputed land belonged to Jeremiah Harris.
In a map of the disputed land, a copy of which is with the Daily Observer, two areas are marked, with one belonging to Jeremiah Harris and the other to Mary J. Watson and David F. M. Dean at different locations on Benson Street.
The case, however, becomes interesting when Atty. Beford Saa Tamba, Sr., who had the popular Tamba Court in the disputed building, throws his weight behind the heirs of David F. M. Dean.
In an interview with the Daily Observer, Atty. Tamba said it was in 1995 that the late Joseph Richards of Mamba Point evicted one Mr. Samuel T. Solomon from his house on lower Mechlin Street.
“In conjunction with my wife, I allowed Mr. Solomon to occupy the building that he is claiming belongs to his wife’s family.
“My Justice of Peace Court was in the building, which is opposite the OK Dry Cleaning. This building was given to me to use by a Lebanese businessman, Nabil of Vai Town, who told me that the building was originally owned by the Cox family.
“I decided to exercise this reasonable clemency by having him under my umbrella because of the unpleasant situation he (Mr. Samuel Solomon) was faced with and or the lodging conflict he experienced at the time with Mr. Joseph Richards.
“I did not request any payment of rent at the time as he was unemployed,” he said.
Atty. Solomon’s answer to the above statement: “It’s a lie.”