PROVIDENCE—Legal representatives of the South Kingstown Chamber of Commerce (SKCC) and the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck and Narragansett Chambers of Commerce met in court on Tuesday to present their statements regarding SKCC’s name change to Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. A number of chambers in Washington County joined together in November to form the United Chambers of Southern Rhode Island and have filed a lawsuit against SKCC for the name change, deeming it a hostile maneuver to weaken the strength of chambers of commerce throughout southern Rhode Island
Lawyers of both parties were in Superior Court in Providence Tuesday to provide Judge Brian Stern with written affidavits, and to also discuss further the steps that need to be taken to bring the case to a close.
“A lot of paperwork was presented, but the case is not quite finished yet,” said Jeffrey Attorney Jeffry Techentin of Adler, Pollock, and Sheehan, the legal representative for the United Chambers of Southern Rhode Island. “The parties presented their affidavits and were cross-examined, but I do not want to say anymore which may misrepresent the parties involved.”
“I think that our evidence came in well and supports what we are looking for here,” he added.
The other local chambers of commerce were angered when they received an email from SKCC in September that they would be changing their name, an act which the chambers took as detrimental to the fostering of a healthy business climate in southern Rhode Island.
“The idea is to build bridges and we always worked that way, but we have tried and failed, which is unfortunate,” said Kelso in October. “We all need each other, and for someone to alienate 80 percent of the chambers of commerce in South County is not good business.”
“Engaging and using ‘Southern Rhode Island’ as a moniker is confusing on the part of the community,” she added. “It harms the business community based on its sub-standard representation.”
SKCC, however, feels that it has legal grounds to change their name to Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, and will continue to try and work with the other chambers as before.
“We feel that we have made the name change in a lawful manner, and the legal action against us in unfortunate,” said Clay Johnson, Chair of the SKCC Board of Directors last month. “We are proceeding and have instructed our attorney to continue dialogue with their representation in order to come to a resolution about what they really think the issue is. We don’t see it.”
For more information, pick up a copy of today's paper.