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Schedule for the rest of the hearing
June 9, 2011 - Jessica Collier
This is in today's paper, but I figured I'd post it here so everyone is up to date.
TUPPER LAKE - The current group of adjudicatory hearing sessions for the Adirondack Club and Resort wrapped up Wednesday, two days earlier than scheduled.
The hearing, scheduled to run over seven weeks, is on break next week, then restarts at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 21, at state Adirondack Park Agency headquarters in Ray Brook. Administrative Law Judge Daniel P. O'Connell said he would reserve space for that entire week and the following week, but parties said it's unlikely the following week will be necessary.
That group of dates will deal with the protection of the project's lands classified as resource management. The issue was in play in a group of late April and early May hearing dates, but O'Connell decided to delay it after Protect the Adirondacks attorney John Caffry found out that ACR attorney Thomas Ulasewicz hadn't provided some documents to him that he should have in response to discovery demands.
Before the next group of hearings, O'Connell has to decide on a motion Caffry made to eliminate testimony by two ACR witnesses due to the discovery issue. If those witnesses are not allowed to testify, it should considerably shorten the time the final group of sessions takes.
The hearing began March 22 and has run in two-week sessions since then. All of the groups of session dates have finished at least a few days early.
Once the final group of hearing dates finishes, each party involved - about 30 in all - will be able to submit a closing brief to argue how the APA board should interpret the facts presented in the hearing. After that, O'Connell has decided to allow response briefs to be filed as well.
Parties are still discussing how long each will take. Most were pushing for 30 days for closing briefs, but some wanted 60 days.
Once all the briefs and response briefs are submitted, O'Connell will officially close the record and deliver it to the APA. At that point, the agency's Board of Commissioners will have 60 days to review the hearing record and make a decision.
Commissioners have expressed concern about having enough time to go over the piles of paperwork and hours of video that are all part of the hearing record. Developers could put a hold on the time clock if they so desired.
Other people testifying on Issue 1 when we come back are Phyllis Thomspon for Protect the Adirondacks, a panel from the Adirondack Council (Glennon and Kretser) and a panel of APA staff (Colleen Parker, Shaun LaLonde, Dan Spada and possibly Mark Sengenberger?). If they're allowed to testify, Kevin Franke and Jeff Anthony would be the two to testify for the applicant.
I'm curious to see if they're allowed to testify. I think that O'Connell would really like to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again, and we saw him strike part of Scott Brandi's testimony yesterday as a punishment. But I think Franke and Anthony's testimony is way more important to the crux of what the APA board is concerned with, so it would be really detrimental to the record if it weren't included.
The conspiracy theorist in me almost wants to suggest that Ulasewicz included Brandi's testimony, which blatantly referred to plenty of sources that weren't produced in discovery, in order to allow the judge to punish him with something less crucial so he's made his point and doesn't feel he needs to bar Anthony and Franke. But who knows what sort of strategy he was employing. I shouldn't be speculating.
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