OCGC rebuild issue heats up as oral arguments are to be heard


GOSHEN – Lawyers will be back in State Supreme Court today to argue their sides in an attempt to have visiting Justice Christopher Cahill issue a temporary restraining order preventing redevelopment of the Orange County Government Center in Goshen from moving forward.
Attorney Michael Sussman is representing a group of local residents who contend the entire process leading up to the decision is flawed and therefore the project should be halted.
The county has argued it has followed all of the proper environmental procedures and laws and should be allowed to continue.
Sussman wrote to Justice Cahill on Monday telling him that a letter he
had just received from the president of Design LAB architects, who were
engaged in the development process, pulled out in August of last year. 
He said the county and its officials have had the letter for nearly one
year yet it was only made public now.
“How can we have a democracy when the truth carries so little weight and when transparency is so disrespected?” Sussman said.  “It demonstrates from one of the people directly involved that there were alternatives to non-compliance with the environmental laws, but the county chose a course of non-compliance, knowingly, opportunistically, and unfortunately with the, at least tacit, if not active support of other governmental agencies like the DEC, which has been totally derelict in their responsibilities.”
In the five-page letter from DesignLAB’s Robert Miklos, he outlines what he believes to be wrong with the process.
“Given the direction the project has taken under Clark Patterson Lee’s leadership, the skepticism we share about the likely success of the new approach, our belief that this approach will not serve the best needs of the county, and our greatly reduced ability to affect a successful design, we feel ethically and professionally that we must remove ourselves from the project,” Miklos wrote to Phil Clark of Clark Patterson Lee in a letter dated August 18, 2014.
County spokesman Justin Rodriguez responded to Sussman’s comments saying that the county will “try our cases in court while Sussman, the leader of the Democratic Alliance, attempts to try them in the media.”
As far as the letter is concerned, Rodriguez said, “It appears to be a dispute between a contractor hired by the previous county executive and county legislature and one of its subcontractors. We will let them resolve their own differences.”