Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Landowner's attorney produces key documents that neither CJERP or the Monroe County Planning Commission could produce - or claimed they could not produce

Landowner Ricky Gower, who owns the property that Nestle plans to locate its water extraction operation on, filed a Motion to Intervene in the appeal of Eldred Township's passage of a land use amendment on January 4, 2016 in the Court of Common Pleas.  Mr. Gower is using the same law firm that Eldred Township as member of regional planning agency CJERP uses as its solicitor.  Attorney James Fareri is CJERP's solicitor, and his partner Marc Wolfe represents Ricky Gower.  Mr. Fareri and Mr. Wolfe are partners at Newman, Williams, Mishkin, Corveleyn, Wolfe  & Fareri.

It was very interesting to see that included in the exhibits as part of the Motion to Intervene were the advertisements for the March 27, 2014 and May 1, 2014 meetings of CJER (CJERP's predecessor, which Mr. Fareri also represented).  These meetings are important because the latter was the meeting at which the water extraction amendment was passed, and the former contains references that reflect certain individuals were aware that a draft water extraction amendment was being contemplated.

On December 10, 2015, Don Moore met with CJERP planner and contact person Matt Neeb, and asked several questions about CJERP and the 2014 meetings referenced above.  Mr. Moore asked Mr. Neeb for a copy of the legal notices for the March and May 2014 meetings, and Mr. Neeb immediately replied that CJERP would not have those - the county planning commission would have them.

Mr. Moore traveled to the Monroe County Planning Commission directly following the meeting with Mr. Neeb, and met with Senior Planner Eric Koopman.  Mr. Moore related that Mr. Neeb had indicated the planning commission must have the advertisements, because CJERP did not.  Mr. Koopman went into a closet, and appeared to do a cursory glance around, came out and said he didn't know what to say - but that the planning commission didn't have them either.  These are the proof that the meetings were advertised, and the two key agencies that would retain them said they didn't have them.

Mr. Wolfe, the partner of CJERP solicitor Fareri, was able to not only produce the advertisements but also the proof of advertising affidavits from the Pocono Record.

One wonders if Mr. Wolfe didn't stroll down the hall, knock on Mr. Fareri's door, and Mr. Fareri whipped out the required documents from his 2014 file.  Or, that Mr. Fareri obtained them from Mr. Neeb or Mr. Koopman, who suddenly "remembered" where they were less then a month after Mr. Moore requested them.  The following is what Mr. Wolfe attached as an exhibit to Mr. Gower's court filing, and it should be noted that the content of the advertisements is critical to the legal argument - yet the ads are totally unreadable:

This reminds one of  the FAXes Jerry Lundegaard sent in Fargo, with illegible VIN numbers.


Mr. Fareri stated at the February CJERP meeting that he has no conflict of interest, even though his law firm represents both landowner Ricky Gower and regional planning body CJERP - of which Eldred Twp is a member.  His rationale is that CJERP and Ricky Gower both believe said amendments were passed legally, so they have the same position.  But Eldred Township has stated publicly that it believes the amendment was not passed legally.  Mr. Fareri's law firm appears to be playing both sides of the field at the same time, and to have a conflict of interest.  What if CJERP's membership wakes up to reality next week, and say "yo, Jimmy, we decide what we believe, and the writing is all over the wall - the amendment was totally illegally passed"?  Then, by Mr. Fareri's definition (apparently) there will be a conflict of interest.  What happens then?  One of the clients is told they need to find a new lawyer?
"conflict of interest (COI) is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests, financial interest, or otherwise, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation of the individual or organization.

Footnote: The Pocono Record was happy to research said advertisements, and produced hi resolution PDF files of said advertisements - via email no less:

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