CANDIA, N.H. (AP) — The owner of a New Hampshire waterpark who chained himself to a slide tower 17 days ago to try to prevent the park's auction has ended his quest because of failing health and the lack of a financial savior.
Kevin Dumont climbed the slide at Liquid Planet on Nov. 9 in a bid to attract investors interested in saving the business. He said Wednesday on Facebook there were no takers and that a doctor believes he is developing pneumonia.
"Dear friends and supporters, it is with profound sadness that I must tell you that my attempts to find a partner in time to save the waterpark from auction has failed," he wrote. "I had a number of interested parties but there just wasn't enough time to get the details worked out before the December 2nd auction. I tried my best to have the auction delayed but unfortunately I could not make it happen."
Dumont, a genial 46-year-old Army veteran with nine years of service, opened the park in 2008. Two wet summers kept crowds away and a series of financial problems immediately followed. Late this season, the state temporarily shut down two of his new waterslides when they were found to have high levels of bacteria. The state also said he put up the slides without a required review.
"We've done things, taken short term loans, worked for free to try to keep it going," Dumont told The Associated Press the day before he ended his effort. "But unfortunately, our loan just wasn't performing. The bank had to call our loan."
A GoFundMe page raised just $1,945 toward a $1 million goal, and interest from four potential investors didn't lead to a rescue. A total of $1.6 million was needed to keep the property — including his home — off the auction block.
Matthew Coggins, a spokesman for Lowell, Massachusetts-based Enterprise Bank, said the bank could not comment on its customers.
Up on his perch, Dumont stayed warm with an electric heater, had food of his own and enjoyed the occasional pizza and beer from friends. He used a portable toilet, the kind used by campers. He stayed mostly chained to the tower though he threw off the shackles to sleep.
He passed the time by reading, answering text messages, feeding his Facebook page and, most importantly, trying to find a way to save his business.
"I experienced a few moments of loneliness and sadness but mostly overwhelming love and gratitude for the support you all have shown to me," he said on Facebook. "I know I have lost this battle but I also know I tried my best. I think my parents would be proud of me."
This story has been corrected to show the amount raised on GoFundMe was $1,945, not $1,665.