Monday, June 5, 2017

A Shameful Attempt to Bully

If you drive through the seventh ward and parts of the sixth ward, you will see sign after sign after sign in opposition to the Rupco proposal for the Kingston Poorhouse a/k/a Almshouse.  The people in the neighborhood have made it clear that they do not want this project, and the opposition is growing.

As the Alderwoman of the Seventh Ward, Maryann Mills has led the opposition to this proposal, along with Alderwoman Brown, and others.

Apparently, Rupco is feeling the heat.  Recently, a letter was sent by Rupco's attorney.   Dated 5/31/17, this letter states:

"Political Influence. It is my opinion that Councilman Mills has pre-judged my clients Zoning Petition and has attempted to utilize her position as a Common Council Member to wield political influence on behalf of and in league with project opponents based upon the affordable housing aspects of the Landmark Place Project. This pandering to those working at variance with a lawful affordable housing project is wholly inappropriate and could expose the City of Kingston to substantial monetary liability, Landmaster Montgomery, LLC v. Town of Montgomery, Index Number 8125/04, Sup. Ct., Orange County (September 18, 2006), Owen, J., cross app. dismd, 54 AD3d 407 (2008), aff'd, 54 AD3d 408, app. dismd, 11 NY3d 864 (2008). Continental Building Company v. Town of North Salem, 625 NYS2d 700 (1995). 

Unconstitutional Exclusionary Zoning. Based upon the foregoing, it appears that Councilwoman Mills may be attempting to utilize her own predilections against the project to interfere with the substantive requirements of the City of Kingston Zoning Law, New York State Statutes and Federal Law, in order to invidiously exclude affordable housing. 

In this regard, it is critical to remember that under New York State Law, the City of Kingston is required to provide a properly balanced and well-ordered housing plan for the entire community, while considering regional housing needs and requirements. Berenson v. Town of New Castle, 38 NY2d 102 (1975), Kurzlus v. Incorporated Village of Upper Brookville, 51 NY2d 338 (1980), United States of America ex rel. AntiDiscrimination Center of Metro New York, Inc. v. Westchester County, New York, Stipulation and Order of Settlement and Dismissal, Case No. 06Civ.2860-DLC, Cole, J (2009). "

So, what does this letter mean?  Well, there is one line that makes it crystal clear.  Rupco's attorney wrote, "This pandering to those working at variance with a lawful affordable housing project is wholly inappropriate and could expose the City of Kingston to substantial monetary liability ..."

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a threat.  This means that the City of Kingston Common Council and Mayor are being told that if they do not approve Rupco's application and do exactly what they want, a lawsuit could be filed.  That is the only way Kingston could suffer "substantial monetary liability."

I served on the Kingston Common Council. I debated many issues with former Mayor Sottile and former Majority Leader Reynolds.  At no time did either man ever threaten me.  We disagreed, but did so the proper way.

I feel very confident that Mayor Sottile would NEVER have tolerated any agency or organization making a threat like this.  I know damn well that former Mayor Shayne Gallo and certainly former Mayor TR Gallo would not have tolerated this.

As a city taxpayer, I am angered, offended, and outraged that Rupco is trying to bully the Kingston Common Council and the Mayor into backing this proposal.  Alderwoman Mills is doing her job and supporting her constituents' wishes in opposing the project.  The Common Council has a fiduciary responsibility to review all proposals.  The Aldermen also have a responsibility to represent their constituents.

I conclude my remarks by saying that Rupco is obviously getting desperate.  The public is significantly against this project.  The Almshouse proposal will be a huge issue in the November elections.  Rupco is now resorting to threats and bullying to try to force their proposal through the required legal reviews.  Any Alderman or Alderwoman who tolerates this may find out that taxpayers will vote them out of office.