Developer Accuses Critics of Racketeering

Continental Commons owner data files federal lawsuit

A developer who wants to build Continental Commons, a reproduction colonial village on Route 9 in Fishkill, sued critics in federal courtroom last month for $18 million, professing they utilized unlawful racketeering and corrupt procedures to stop the project. 

Domenico Broccoli, who owns the 10.5-acre internet site, filed go well with on Aug. 17, asserting that leaders and supporters of the nonprofit Close friends of the Fishkill Source Depot violated the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, a regulation generally applied to prosecute gang users, but also sometimes applicable to non-prison proceedings.

The lawsuit targets 31 men and women — naming 6 and referring to 25 only as “Does” — additionally two consulting companies. It alleges several offenses, including salting the assets with bones and historic artifacts digging phony graves “making knowingly bogus statements” to government officials deceptive the public or normally misbehaving to realize the “ultimate objective of wresting ownership of the residence.” 

Often named Crossroads, the home lies on a piece of the Groundbreaking War Fishkill Source Depot, a huge armed service base that stretched from colonial Fishkill village down the Albany Write-up Highway (now Route 9) to northern Philipstown, which was then element of Dutchess County. It sprawled eastward together the present Route 52 toward East Fishkill and west to Fishkill Landing and the Hudson River, now Beacon. 

The Van Wyck homestead, a Continental Army officers’ headquarters overseen by the Fishkill Historical Society, faces Broccoli’s website throughout Snook Street. 

Broccoli, a Culinary Institute of The united states graduate who owns four IHOP restaurants, wants to assemble a hotel, cafe, retail room and visitor center. The internet site at the moment contains a gasoline station with a automobile wash and benefit retailer, woods and a cemetery that the Pals of the Fishkill Source Depot (FOFSD) think contains graves of Revolutionary War lifeless. Broccoli disagrees with their assessment but has pledged to secure the burial ground.

A 2007 archaeological dig uncovered 8 graves in 2013 three far more burials ended up learned and 18th-century artifacts have also surfaced. In objecting to Continental Commons, FOFSD has warned that advancement would “destroy distinctive ruins, dishonor the memory of the heroes who served — and are buried — at the web-site, and forever scar the historic landscape of Fishkill.”

Broccoli’s lawsuit contends that immediately after failing to raise sufficient income to purchase the home during a 7-thirty day period time period he gave the business in 2013, the nonprofit’s leaders and supporters made use of “a sequence of effectively-crafted lies aimed at devaluing” his land and “destroying” his business enterprise. According to the criticism, their “actions were being not centered in patriotism or an altruistic desire to preserve American history. Instead, their scheme is based mostly in greed.” The lawsuit maintains the FOFSD intends to create a for-financial gain “cultural heritage tour” enterprise exactly where site visitors can join “mock archaeological digs and discover manufactured artifacts.”

As the RICO defendants, the 61-webpage grievance names FOFSD President Lance Ashworth Mara Farrell, a person of its founders and Invoice Sandy, an archaeologist. 

In a non-RICO capacity, the lawsuit targets Douglas Mackey, accused by Broccoli of acquiring prolonged on-website investigations even though serving as a state historic preservation analyst and as a result obtaining “abused his role” as an qualified and Stephen Thomas, an architect and former Fishkill Scheduling Board member, who, the lawsuit alleges, sought to drag out the regional assessment to improve Broccoli’s bills. 

The lawsuit also disparages two reports about the web site and consists of the firms that developed them as defendants, alongside with a person firm’s chief. One particular report was ready in 2016 by archaeologist Richard Hunter of Hunter Research and funded by a $24,600 National Park Assistance grant the other was by Greenhouse Consultants, a Ga agency twice employed by Broccoli. He contends the studies intentionally mischaracterized archaeological get the job done or the historical file to make it surface the web page contains artifacts and burials or is in any other case linked to the Fishkill Source Depot. 

Questioned irrespective of whether, if Broccoli prevails, he could accumulate the $18 million, a Continental Commons consultant, Greg Lane, stated on Tuesday (Aug. 31) that the defendants “stood to attain tens of millions of bucks from their fraudulent scheme.”

As of Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 1), none of the defendants experienced submitted a reaction with the federal courtroom. FOFSD did not immediately answer to a ask for for remark.

In January, Broccoli asked a condition courtroom to overturn the Fishkill City Board’s denial of drinking water and sewer method extensions for his challenge. In a news launch at the time, the developer asserted that the city supervisor and board experienced “consistently, calculatingly and maliciously abused, and go on to abuse, authorities powers to derail the Continental Commons task.” That situation is pending.

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