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#59417 - 08/02/11 12:13 PM MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation Redux
Advocacy group Offline
addict

Registered: 08/03/10
Posts: 653
Loc: New Paltz,Marbletown,Gardiner,...
Lawsuit defendants allege intimidation in Mohonk land disputes
Published: Sunday, July 03, 2011


By WILLIAM J. KEMBLE
Correspondent

GARDINER — Neighboring property owners say the non-profit Mohonk Preserve and its partner agency, the Shawangunk Conservancy, have used intimidation and fraudulent documents to add to the preserve's 7,000 acres.

The allegations are in response to two lawsuits filed by the Mohonk Preserve in state Supreme Court in disputes over land ownership.

In one case, Karen Pardini and her husband, Michael Fink, are awaiting a ruling on the ownership of a 71.45-acre portion of a 300-acre parcel in the town of Rochester.

In the second case, oral arguments were completed this month, but legal documents still are being filed. In the suit, the Mohonk Preserve is seeking to clarify boundaries of a 14-acre property in the town of New Paltz. The suit, which names Christopher Ullrich, Sarah Emond, Thomas Marks and Helen Ullrich as defendants, contends a neighboring parcel has been used for access to preserve property to cut firewood and that "No Trespassing" signs have been removed from preserve property.

As for the 71.45 acres claimed by Pardini and Fink, the Mohonk Preserve, citing a paper trail dating to 1881, argues that deeds show the property is among holdings it obtained through previous purchase. The dispute represents the third legal battle in the past 16 years over ownership of various sections of a 300-acre parcel purchased by the couple from Marellan Associates and the fifth case overall for Fink stemming from the land disputes.

In 2004, the Mohonk Preserve charged Fink with trespassing on preserve property, but the case was dismissed. Fink subsequently filed a suit charging the arrest amounted to malicious prosecution. That suit was settled for an undisclosed sum.

Mohonk Preserve Executive Director Glenn Hoagland acknowledged the settlement but declined to discuss details because of restrictions in the agreement. He did say the organization was forced to ask state police to intervene in the 2004 case because Fink was being disruptive.

The first case overall was won by Pardini and Fink in 1997, when the Shawangunk Conservancy claimed ownership of more than 136 acres. Fink said the conservancy sought property that actively was used by the Mohonk Preserve and that false documents were used to support the conservancy's case.

"The deed that the conservancy claimed the property by was certified to Mohonk Preserve," Fink said. "Their name (Mohonk Preserve) was on the deed. Mohonk Preserve posted the property. Mohonk Preserve installed a cable across the access."

In 2005, the Mohonk Preserve filed suit against Fink and Pardini, claiming it owned a 38-acre parcel. The couple settled by selling the land for $15,000.

"We settled the case because she didn't want to go through any more," Fink said, referring to his wife. "At the time, we'd been in court since 2004 (with the trespassing cases). It affected our lives big time, cost hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars, and she didn't want to go on. At that time, (Pardini) was stressed, so we made a settlement."

Hoagland says the 1997 case involving the Shawangunk Conservancy should not be associated with his organization.

"It is a separate non-profit organization," he said. "We were not involved as a party to that, we weren't named in any judge's decision, we weren't called to testify. It's a huge stretch to say we were involved in that case."

Hoagland said his organization has cordial relations with most owners of properties abutting the Mohonk Preserve.

"It's over 250 contiguous neighbors, and we're in court with two of them," he said.

The case against Christopher Ullrich and his domestic partner, Emond, as current property owners, and Marks and Helen Ullrich involves a boundary dispute. Marks and Helen Ullrich are the parents of Christopher Ullrich. They owned property adjacent to the Mohonk Preserve that they sold in 2005 to their son and Emond.

Christopher Ullrich said the case was initiated after Mohonk Preserve officials came to him with claims that he was clearing land deeded to the preserve by a previous owner.

"They presented me with a map ... and said that the prior owner agreed that the line was here (and) 'we'd like you to sign a boundary line agreement,'" he said. "So I showed the map to my father. He'd never seen the map, and, basically, it turned into a lawsuit from there. Then they didn't even end up using that map. Interestingly enough, the map they have (and produced for the court case) refutes the first map."

Hoagland said Ullrich has declined to produce surveys supporting claims to boundary lines, but he contends there is about a 20-foot margin of difference in ownership claims between the two sides.

"(Christopher Ullrich) bought the property in 2005 and, shortly thereafter, started making incursions seeking private gain onto Mohonk Preserve property," Hoagland said. "As a land conservation organization ... we hold these lands as a public trust, and our job is to defend the lands entrusted to us to prevent these kinds of incursions."

Other property owners also have complained about tactics used in boundary and title disputes by preserve officials, as well as by the Shawangunk Conservancy.

One persistent critic has been Sue Boice Wick, who began following what she calls "bullying" tactics after she said her grandmother was the victim of improper efforts to acquire land in the town of Rochester that had been in the family since 1918.

"The original piece she had ... was 3.75 acres," Wick said. "All of a sudden, it disappeared off the assessment tax roll sometime after 1950."

The change was found by Fink in 1997 and brought to the attention of Wick's family, which ultimately was given title to the property as a 3.26-acre parcel.

"Nobody noticed it was missing because my grandmother died (in 1960), and my mom was busy raising nine kids," Wick said. "Mohonk had known that there was an error as early as 1992, but they didn't do anything about it."

Hoagland said the preserve actually restored ownership to Wick's family after conducting surveys to review its own land holdings. "Those lands were incorrectly assessed by Ulster County, which is often the case" he said.

Wick, a professional property deed title examiner, said her mother was contacted in 1988 about another parcel that Mohonk Preserve officials wanted to buy.

"They told her that if she didn't sign it over to them for a couple hundred dollars, they were going to take her to court and she wasn't going to get anything," she said. "The outcome of that was that my mother called me crying. … So I had her set up a meeting and got (a Mohonk Preserve representative) to say the same thing, then told him to get out of the house."

Wick also said a town of Rosendale property listed at 5 acres was purchased by the Mohonk Preserve at a tax sale in 1987 for $1,400 but since has expanded to 22.59 acres after the preserve conducted surveys. She said that is one of several tactics used by the organization to expand its holdings.

"They create conflicting chains of title, enhance their surveys, they piggyback their deeds, they change the assessments, they threaten, they lie to people and talk people into selling their land for peanuts," she said. "They'll chain off an access road, and then they'll tell people they're landlocked now, (saying), 'We'll give you a key, but you'll never be able to sell your property because we own the road.'"

Hoagland said it's not surprising that acreage would be adjusted after being purchased by the Mohonk Preserve.

"All property the preserve acquires is subject to survey and the normal deed transaction, so if acreage changes, it probably means the surveyor got a look at it and found the deed didn't match the acreage that was being advertised," he said. "That's very common in real estate transactions."
_________________________
The MPNA is an advocacy group for adjacent neighbors of the Mohonk Preserve. In the event of a dispute with the Mohonk Preserve, we can offer assistance in obtaining experts in the following areas; Surveying, Lawyers, Title, expert witnesses, ancient document research, and Maps.

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#59418 - 08/02/11 12:16 PM Re: MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation Redux [Re: Advocacy group]
Advocacy group Offline
addict

Registered: 08/03/10
Posts: 653
Loc: New Paltz,Marbletown,Gardiner,...
Glenn Hoagland seems to have a very short memory when it comes to neighborly relations. In the above article he claims that Mohonk Preserve is only having issues with two of it's neighbors. I think he forgot about this letter.

As neighbors we, the undersigned, wish to maintain good relationships with the Mohonk Preserve. Events of the last several years however have given us pause. The Mohonk Preserve has used confrontational quit claim deeds to claim land from some neighbors and, in concert with the Shawangunk Conservancy, has used the legal mechanism of adverse possession in an attempt to lay claim to the land of another neighbor. More recently the Mohonk Preserve has been lobbying the Gardiner Town Board to pass the confiscatory, divisive, and highly controversial zoning law now under consideration.

As landowners we have a fiduciary responsibility to ourselves, our families, and our heirs to protect our assets. As a group we have protested loudly and clearly, in many venues, about the unfairness of the proposed Gardiner zoning law and its detrimental impact on our ability to fulfill our responsibilities. Some of us have privately asked the Mohonk Preserve about the unseemliness of their vocal support of the proposed zoning law which benefits them so greatly at our expense. They have failed to respond.

We respect the property rights and boundaries of the Mohonk Preserve. We now ask the Mohonk Preserve to publicly state their willingness to respect the property rights and boundaries of all of their neighbors. In the interest of an ongoing respectful and neighborly relationship we ask the Mohonk Preserve to disavow the use of quit claim deeds and adverse possession to wrest land from their neighbors. Further, we ask the Mohonk Preserve to publicly withdraw their support of the divisive Gardiner zoning law, which will bring disproportionate economic harm to so few, and instead work with us to find more equitable approaches to open space preservation along the ridge.

Respectfully,

Charlie Bales
Don Conklin
Bruce Keeping
Carol Ann Keeping
Mike Yucowicz
Kent Pierce
Pauline Alexander
William Connor
Michael Browne
Jonathon Gascoine
Richard Weaver
Mark Rollins
Helena Duda
Anita Gehrke
Nat Higgins
Rich Lapp
Pam Lapp
Chris Ullrich
Mike Fink
Howard Harder
Toby Stover
Charlie Majestic
Marybeth Majestic
Louise Haviland
Robert Lapp


Thanks, MPNA
_________________________
The MPNA is an advocacy group for adjacent neighbors of the Mohonk Preserve. In the event of a dispute with the Mohonk Preserve, we can offer assistance in obtaining experts in the following areas; Surveying, Lawyers, Title, expert witnesses, ancient document research, and Maps.

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#59419 - 08/02/11 12:18 PM Re: MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation Redux [Re: Advocacy group]
Advocacy group Offline
addict

Registered: 08/03/10
Posts: 653
Loc: New Paltz,Marbletown,Gardiner,...
Oh and these as well.........


The following neighbors have added their signatures to the Open Letter to the Mohonk Preserve:

Thomas Borchert
Donald DeGraw
Susan Boice Wick


Thanks, MPNA
_________________________
The MPNA is an advocacy group for adjacent neighbors of the Mohonk Preserve. In the event of a dispute with the Mohonk Preserve, we can offer assistance in obtaining experts in the following areas; Surveying, Lawyers, Title, expert witnesses, ancient document research, and Maps.

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#59428 - 08/03/11 12:33 AM Re: MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation Redux [Re: Advocacy group]
cbmd Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/03/11
Posts: 4
I'm not nearly a good enough climber to post here but, having followed these boards for a fair while, I feel it reasonable to seek clarification.

AG/MPNA, why do you continue to agitate in these forums?

I mean this as a serious, genuine question. I can understand and appreciate your position as aggrieved landowners who feel set-upon by the Preserve and constrained by local building codes. Personally, I'm on the other side of the fence: in this day of rabid overdevelopment (see Red Rocks thread), I don't mind entities like the Preserve fighting like they mean it to fulfill their conservationist missions. But I certainly don't begrudge you your position and your right to advocate. However, I'm just really, really confused as to why you keep coming here to do it.

You obviously dedicate a fair amount of time and energy to posting here, albeit for an audience that's (apparently) totally dedicated to the opposing perspective. Wouldn't those considerable efforts be better placed elsewhere?

It just doesn't seem to make strategic sense to have such a strong presence here. In my opinion, your real target-market is those landowners whose properties view the ridge. They have an extremely strong interest in maintaining status-quo of ridgeline views (thus preserving their own property values).

I just don't see how you're expecting climbers--some local, many not--to join your fight in any kind of helpful way (especially when many here have repeatedly spoken to the contrary).

Look, I enjoy the Laurel and Hardy gig just as much as the next guy. And I'm sure you've got to enjoy rattling the cage here, if only to keep your sanity. But it seems to be a big waste of effort if you're truly dedicated to pushing your agenda forward.

This isn't a backhanded attempt to say, "Shut up, mofos!" I really do wonder why you keep stoking the fire here. I'm interested to hear your reply.

And apologies for the longwinded questioning: I know this is a heated issue and didn't want to misrepresent my intentions.

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#59434 - 08/03/11 10:20 AM Re: MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation Redux [Re: cbmd]
oenophore Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5979
Loc: 212 land
You obviously dedicate a fair amount of time and energy to posting here, albeit for an audience that's (apparently) totally dedicated to the opposing perspective. Wouldn't those considerable efforts be better placed elsewhere?

There's nothing wrong with explanation of one's position to those who may oppose it.
_________________________

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#59438 - 08/03/11 01:55 PM Re: MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation Redux [Re: cbmd]
Advocacy group Offline
addict

Registered: 08/03/10
Posts: 653
Loc: New Paltz,Marbletown,Gardiner,...
Originally Posted By: cbmd
I'm not nearly a good enough climber to post here but, having followed these boards for a fair while, I feel it reasonable to seek clarification.

AG/MPNA, why do you continue to agitate in these forums?


cbmd,

You have asked quite a few questions and stated incorrect MPNA positions. For instance you mention us feeling "Constrained by building codes", we are not opposed to any building codes and have never stated that. You also seem to insinuate that the Mohonk Preserve is anti development and we are Pro destruction of the ridge. Again this is untrue on both sides. As a side note, We find it interesting that the director of land protection for the Mohonk Preserve lives on a "ridge top" property. So it appears that the Mohonk Preserve is Pro ridge top development, just for themselves.
I regards to the Gunks.com user group, we know from PM's, posts and private in person meetings with our friends at Gunks.com that this user group is not "totally dedicated to the opposing perspective". We have chosen to post here because some of the Gunks.com user group supports us and it allows us to see our message through some of our harshest critics perspective. This opposing perspective has allowed us to hone our message and shape our organization.

Thanks, MPNA



Edited by webmaster (08/06/11 02:09 PM)
_________________________
The MPNA is an advocacy group for adjacent neighbors of the Mohonk Preserve. In the event of a dispute with the Mohonk Preserve, we can offer assistance in obtaining experts in the following areas; Surveying, Lawyers, Title, expert witnesses, ancient document research, and Maps.

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#59444 - 08/03/11 04:49 PM Re: MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation Redux [Re: Advocacy group]
retroscree Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 397
Originally Posted By: Advocacy group
As a side note, We find it interesting that the director of land protection for the Mohonk Preserve lives on a "ridge top" property on in Cragsmor. So it appears that the Mohonk Preserve is Pro ridge top development, just for themselves.

You're equating a village with over 400 residents and its own post office that was first settled in the 1700's with new development of wild-lands?
That's just asinine.
And it's spelled Cragsmoor. If you're going to engage in hyperbolic character assassination, get your facts straight.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cragsmoor,_New_York


Edited by webmaster (08/06/11 02:37 PM)

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#59449 - 08/03/11 05:24 PM Re: MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation Redux [Re: retroscree]
Advocacy group Offline
addict

Registered: 08/03/10
Posts: 653
Loc: New Paltz,Marbletown,Gardiner,...
Originally Posted By: retroscree
Originally Posted By: Advocacy group
As a side note, We find it interesting that the director of land protection for the Mohonk Preserve lives on a "ridge top" property in Cragsmor. So it appears that the Mohonk Preserve is Pro ridge top development, just for themselves.

You're equating a village with over 400 residents and its own post office that was first settled in the 1700's with new development of wild-lands?
That's just asinine.
And it's spelled Cragsmoor. If you're going to engage in hyperbolic character assassination, get your facts straight.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cragsmoor,_New_York


No we're saying that it's hypocritical for the director of land protection for the Mohonk Preserve to own a house on the top of the very ridge she is trying to protect.

Thanks, MPNA


Edited by webmaster (08/06/11 02:36 PM)
_________________________
The MPNA is an advocacy group for adjacent neighbors of the Mohonk Preserve. In the event of a dispute with the Mohonk Preserve, we can offer assistance in obtaining experts in the following areas; Surveying, Lawyers, Title, expert witnesses, ancient document research, and Maps.

Top
#59461 - 08/04/11 12:42 AM Re: MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation Redux [Re: Advocacy group]
retroscree Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 397
Originally Posted By: Advocacy group

You're equating a village with over 400 residents and its own post office that was first settled in the 1700's with new development of wild-lands?
That's just asinine.
And it's spelled Cragsmoor. If you're going to engage in hyperbolic character assassination, get your facts straight.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cragsmoor,_New_York


No we're saying that it's hypocritical for the director of land protection for the Mohonk Preserve to own a house on the top of the very ridge she is trying to protect.[/quote]
It's not hypocritical for her to live in a town on the National Historic Register that's been in existence for centuries before the Mohonk Preserve.


Edited by webmaster (08/06/11 02:10 PM)

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#59468 - 08/04/11 11:38 AM Re: MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation Redux [Re: retroscree]
Advocacy group Offline
addict

Registered: 08/03/10
Posts: 653
Loc: New Paltz,Marbletown,Gardiner,...
Originally Posted By: retroscree

It's not hypocritical for her to live in a town on the National Historic Register that's been in existence for centuries before the Mohonk Preserve. You're just being an ass about it.


Retroscree,

We feel that the Director of land protection for the Mohonk Preserve has a responsibility to practice what she and the organization that she represents preaches. If you want to prevent development on the top of the ridge you shouldn't tell others how bad it is to develop those areas while living in that environment yourself. Hypocrisy unfortunately is rampant in many environmental groups. The Nature Conservancy, one of Mohonk Preserve's partners was exposed for selling environmentally sensitive land to their wealthiest donors and were publicly humiliated for their actions.

Thanks, MPNA


Edited by webmaster (08/06/11 02:11 PM)
_________________________
The MPNA is an advocacy group for adjacent neighbors of the Mohonk Preserve. In the event of a dispute with the Mohonk Preserve, we can offer assistance in obtaining experts in the following areas; Surveying, Lawyers, Title, expert witnesses, ancient document research, and Maps.

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