North Carolina beach town continues legal battle with jet ski rental company

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) – The legal battle between a jet ski rental company and the town of Wrightsville Beach continues after more than a year without incident.

For about two decades, Chris Mangum and his predecessor used the Wrightsville Beach boat launch for jet ski rentals; however, a few years ago the city decided that it no longer wanted Mangum to use it.

In an effort to have him arrested, the city issued Mangum with citations and ultimately brought him to justice but, according to Mangum and the State of North Carolina, it is not up to the city whether he can. whether or not to use the ramp as it is owned and operated by the state.

A consent judgment was signed which bars Mangum from operating on the property, but Mangum says the order should never even have been approved due to the land being owned by the state and not by the city.

“The judgment is void because the city has no jurisdiction, so the Superior Court did not have the right to hear a claim from the city. And they did. Not once, but twice, the same judge, two different companies, ”Mangum said.

The state also weighed in on the matter and confirmed that the city had no jurisdiction over its property.

“All of our boating access areas are open to the public 24/7 and anyone is allowed to launch from these sites, assuming they comply with the regulations posted on our website at: Safety / Recreational Boating Access Zone Regulations, ”said Ryan Kennemur, communications specialist for the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, in an email to Port City Daily.

“That being said, jet ski rental companies can use the ramp. Since the ownership of Wrightsville Beach is wholly owned by the Wildlife Commission, the city has no jurisdiction in this BAA, ”added Kennemur.

However, the city maintains its position that Mangum cannot use the ramp and in a letter sent in early July 2021 it was made clear that they wanted him to stop.

“It has come to my attention that the city has evidence that you continue to violate the terms of the consent judgment. You are hereby invited to immediately cease and refrain from engaging in any activity that violates the terms of the consent judgment. If you do not immediately stop and do not stop engaging in such activity, the city will have no choice but to bring this matter back to court to ensure your compliance with the consent judgment, ”the prosecutor wrote. of the city, Brian Edes.

But, Mangum is not discouraged.

“I’m not going to pay the money, I’m going to keep renting jet skis, and the city has two options: they can throw an innocent man in jail, or they can forget about it and it will prove once and for all. They are wrong. The law is clear – they have no jurisdiction, ”he said.

Mangum knows he risks further legal action, including possibly losing his freedom.

“If the city puts me in jail, I’ll sell my jet skis for a dollar to my friend so the jet skis stay at Wrightsville Beach, then when I get out of jail I’ll start a kayaking business, town, give it up.” me another illegal ticket and we’ll start this process all over again, ”Mangum said.

Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.

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