When technicians arrived at Bowman Field to service ice rink equipment in late October after the remnants of Hurricane Sandy left the area, they were surprised to be met by city police standing guard.
Benn Breton, president of the Naples, Maine-based Rink Specialists, the company which installed and provided maintenance for the rink, said at least one city police officer stood by when a contractor was sent to work on the facility.
The contractor was from Aggreko, a global company that provides temperature control and power generation systems to other businesses, Breton said. He said the employee was sent to perform work on the rink's chiller system.
"It was sort of like an intimidation factor," Breton said.
He added that the nonprofit group that operates the rink - Williamsport Ice Arena - was in fear that equipment it rents from Rink Specialists would be shut down or repossessed for nonpayment at that time.
"Police were already there and basically watched us work," Breton said.
Ken Weber, senior technician with Rink Specialists, said the Aggreko contractor showed up on the same day a payment was due from the nonprofit group.
"They got really nervous," Weber said.
He said the worker told Weber while they were on the phone, "I'm working here and there's a cop staring at me."
Weber said the Aggreko employee was then told by an attorney for the nonprofit group to "turn around and don't step foot on the property."
Corey Mowery, a city attorney representing Williamsport Ice Arena, confirmed that the group was concerned about repossession of rink equipment.
"We basically did have somebody securing the property because we were under the threat of somebody shutting us down," he said. "It was arranged to have somebody present" for two or three days.
Mowery could not say whether the security referred to was city police or a private firm.
Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said he was unaware of any police presence at Bowman Field while technicians worked on rink equipment.
"I did not authorize any kind of police escort," he said.
Campana said he is more concerned with the city's budget preparations than the legal squabble between the nonprofit group and Rink Specialists.
"My priority is not a hockey team," he said.