An Appeal from Goshen Activist Vincent Ferri

Dear Friends:

Almost a half-year ago at a meeting attended by Judge Alan Scheinkman and one of his assistants, I posed the question of NYS agency funding, a trigger for the Joint Letter of Resolution [JLOR] between the DEC and SHPO and the resulting Section 106 Federal Regulatory Oversight Process relative to the NHPA [Section 106 Review]. It was apparent then that Scheinkman could not be trusted, and even though his assistant was willing to talk about the Office of Court Administration [OCA] Funding Component of the County OCGC Project, he was not allowed to by Judge Scheinkman.

Not only does OCA have a funding component; it also has a project approval authority. BOTH of these conditions independently trigger the JLOR and invoke the Section 106 Review. Judge Scheinkman and Judge Prudenti have raised their ugly heads on a number of occasions to insert their desires and egos into what should have been a fair and open process. Judge Scheinkman, in particular, has developed a very cozy relationship with the County and Clark Paterson & Lee [CPL]. This relationship can only be inferred by observation, however at this time there is no direct evidence of this relationship.

AND THIS IS NOT ABOUT PERSONALITIES! This is about a considerable number of people who are acting lawlessly and colluding in RICO style activities to enrich themselves at the taxpayers’ expense.

A. Judicial misconduct:

Just think, the County, through Steve Neuhaus, has been moaning and whining about budget shortfalls and deficits, yet the County gave up $1,000,000 of their FEMA award for the sole purpose of evading Federal Law. And, on top of that, they chose the absolutely most expensive path to deal with the OCGC after the public cut them off from their more grandiose scheme cooked up with Fusco and LaBella.

It is now clear as crystal, given the release of the designLAB Resignation Letter, that they were determined to evade the law through illegal segmentation, negligent design and engineering, falsification of documentation, misrepresentation of the facts, and manipulation of representatives of State regulatory agencies.

The Section 51 litigation was quashed, by my observations, by Scheinkman and OCA; the appeal of the 51 Case was quashed at the appellate level by Scheinkman and OCA, and they are attempting to quash the Article 78 Petition. There has been no substance in any of the two main decisions by Cahill and no substance in the decision of the Appellate Division on the appeal.

As an officer of the court Michael cannot speculate on why this is, but I am not an officer of the court, and my very firm opinion is that we have been denied OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS. But:

1. There is significant waste of tax revenue in a time of economic austerity because of budget shortfalls and predicted deficit.

2. The County in this climate of austerity, chose to give away $1,000,000 in Federal Funds to commit essentially an illegal act of regulatory evasion.

3. The County will spend well over $43,000,000 more than the other proposal submitted by Kaufman.

4. The County’s contractors have a cost per square foot on the OCGC project that is almost twice the industry standard for an equivalent project.

5. While designLAB of Boston brought in the UMass Carney Library project on a building of almost identical size, design and material for $43,000,000, CPL will be spending almost $43,000,000 or more when debt service is included.

6. The CPL initial bids from some contractors on the demolition contract came in at twice the CPL estimate, and that part of the project is delayed by the need for a Rule 56 variance on their intended method of asbestos abatement.

7. No one has seen and finalized construction documents, so clearly, no costs are finalized on any aspect of the project.

8. Waste can be established in a Section 51 suit under the statute independently from corruption, but here we have ample vectors of corruption. Many thousands of dollars in Campaign Contributions from interested parties, labor union leaders, and contract winning bidders on the project have been funneled to County officials

9. We also have a legislator convicted of an ethics violation, Leigh Benton, who was found guilty of negotiating and accepting a position from the lead contractor CPL while he controlled the ability to deny any other plan to move to the legislative floor for a vote, except the one that would ensure destruction of the Rudolph building as a significant historic, social and architectural treasure.

HOW DID JUDGE CAHILL FIND THAT THERE WAS NO WASTE? HOW DID CAHILL FIND NO CONCOMITANT CORRUPTION?

My conclusion is that due process was denied and will continue to be denied in our state courts and a Federal Due Process lawsuit is needed.



B. Deliberate and neglegent regulatory conduct:

While I hadn’t paid much attention to the SOIL STUDIES, since we had other fish to fry, I finally looked more carefully at them last week and found:

1.The identification of unstable soils in the areas of construction, under the parking lots and under sections of the building that TWO DIFFERENT, INDEPENDENT SOIL ENGINEERING FIRMS IN TWO DIFFERENT INDEPENDENTLY UNDERTAKEN STUDIES RECOMMENDED be excavated and replaced with stable fill.

2. Both engineering firms also recommended flood control infrastructure to mitigate the project site’s placement in a 100/500 year flood plain. This would be implemented by the use of significantly voluminous COLLECTION CHAMBERS AND COLLECTION BASINS under the main parking lot, under the courtyard, under the front lawn along Main Street along with a number of very long runs of 2” pipe and footing drains in a quantum to clearly have soil disturbance well above even the 2.47 acres we identified.

3. This infrastructure appears on documents prepared by CPL.

4. The DEC is completely unaware of these elements of the project.

5. No one has seen a fully executed and certified copy of the site plan. Even after submitting a FOIL request, the documents were not available on the return date, and the County said via the County attorney that they would run out the statutory limit on releasing the site plan.

6. Only anecdotal and oral assurances along with drawings that have been manipulated or falsely presented as the actual project drawing were shown to the DEC representative that visited the site.

Is the DEC executing its mandate as the State’s leading environmental protection agency to enforce Federal Clean Water Act Laws? I believe the answer is NO!

It was the Federal EPA that suggested a citizen’s suit in Federal Court on the DEC’s failure to regulate under the Clean Water Act, and that route preempts OCA and its control of OCGC litigation.

The DEC has failed in its regulatory obligations which in my opinion should be challenged in Federal Court under the Clean Water Act.

Michael has told you why Sussman & Watkins cannot pursue this course of action, and I have to ask:

EXCEPT FOR THE PRHF, WHERE IS THE ARCHITECTURAL AND ARTS COMMUNITY?

WHERE IS KAUFMAN?

WHERE ARE THOSE WHO ABHOR CENSORSHIP?

WHERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE DISGUSTED BY GOVERNMENTAL CORRUPTION?

AND, WHERE ARE OTHER ATTORNEYS WITH A CONSCIENCE AND WILLINGNESS TO FIGHT FOR JUSTICE?


C. Other strategies:

In the last week I have taken these steps:

1. I have filed a criminal complaint for environmental fraud with the EPA.

2. I have called in a complaint to the EPA’s Region 2 Water Division relative to the SPDES Permit requirements, and they now have the soil studies, the maps we generated to show minimum soil disturbance of over 2.47 acres, the map that tracks the progress of the Rio Grande as a tributary of the Federally Protected Wallkill River to the River which is part of the waters of the United States, the drawings generated by an engineering firm hired by CPL showing the recommended flood mitigation infrastructure and MOST IMPORTANTLY the designLAB of Boston Resignation Letter. They are currently looking into the need for a SPDES Permit.

3. I have asked the NYSDOL Asbestos Board’s Engineering Services Unit to deny the Rule 56 variance needed by the County for additional asbestos abatement, and if it has already been issued that it be rescinded pending a PUBLIC hearing based on prior project violations including open air asbestos abatement that contaminated the site and endangered the Village. If they have not issued the variance yet, but are considering it, I asked that they conduct a local PUBLIC HEARING on the variance.


The Sloop Clearwater has a very heavy [tons] mainsail and it cannot be lifted by one, two or even three people. The sail is lifted by a crew working in unison to achieve a common goal.

WE NEED MORE HANDS HAULING ON THE OCGC ROPE. PEOPLE WHO WILL ACTUALLY FOLLOW UP ON ANY ACTION TO STOP THE COUNTY AND ITS CONTRACTORS.

PLEASE THINK CREATIVELY AND ACT AGGRESSIVELY.

File your own complaints to the DOL, the DEC, the EPA, the DOJ, FEMA and members of our congressional delegation. Make it hurt for the County to continue on its illegal and reckless course.

Best regards in solidarity,
Vincent
— Vincent Ferri