New York Attorney General's office joins Greens developer to pressure Town of Chester into submission

| 05 Dec 2019 | 05:24

Editor's note: The following statement was issued this afternoon by the Town of Chester in response to this morning's announcement by New York Attorney General Letitia James that she was intervening in the lawsuit brought against the town by the Greens of Chester:

In what appears to be an orchestrated attempt to pressure the Town of Chester into accepting the Greens of Chester's recent settlement demand, New York Assistant Attorney General Sania Khan contacted the town's special counsel to ask the town to immediately consent to the attorney general's intervention in the Greens' federal court litigation. The attorney general's office placed the call less than four business hours after the Greens served a settlement demand on the town's special counsel, Mary Marzolla, Esq., of Feerick Nugent MacCartney, PLLC. Khan told Marzolla that the attorney general's office required an answer by close of business to the consent request.

The attorney general's office was informed that a town must act pursuant to the state's Open Meetings Law and cannot respond on such short notice. When asked if the attorney general's office wanted to hear from the town before seeking intervention, the attorney general's office declined, apparently seeking intervention solely based on information provided by the Greens. The attorney general's office also declined to provided details as to the basis for its intervention.

Previous attempts by the town's counsel to provide information to the attorney general's office in support of the town's position went unanswered by the attorney general's office.

With this morning's court filing, it is apparent that the attorney general's office is acting in the service of the interests of one private developer, seeking injunctive relief for that party in the form of immediate approval of its development proposal without regard to its enormous impacts on local infrastructure and systems, or its divergence from code.

"The New York Attorney General's Office exists to represent and listen to all the people of this state, not just politically influential factions," Marzolla states. "There is no reason for it to be unnecessarily involved in this matter on behalf of a private developer that can sufficiently represent itself."

"I am disheartened by the timing of the attorney general's actions here and the refusal of the attorney general to hear from the town before seeking to intervene in this matter," Supervisor Robert Valentine of the Town of Chester remarked. "I look forward to the federal court's determination that will be based on input from both sides and not on political influence."