Landowner Letter to Caroline Board, April 4, 2017


To the Caroline Town Board

Crystal and I have won our case against Tompkins County, as of yesterday Judge Rumsey found in our favor on all counts and ordered the County to release all drafts of the proposed NYSEG license agreement as well as some other documents by this coming Monday. The Judge appears to share our concern that Ed Marx deleted emails because he ordered an independent, certified search of all of his email accounts and the County’s backup system as well to look for deleted emails. That will take 3 weeks.

Landowners negotiations with NYSEG over overship of the right of way is progressing, with several developments in the last week that significantly strenthen our argument that the railroad sold NYSEG at most an easement, not ownership. NYSEG has yet to dispute our ownership claim, and we hope to be able to correct any deeds to reflect this once we have agreed on the nature of any easements. This will take some time, months most likely because of the enormously complicated titles.

Assuming the County complies with the Judge’s order, we will soon know what Ed Marx was so intent on keeping secret. Obviously it is likely to be in the landowners’ favor, and it is likely this Recreation Way project will not happen.

This would be a good time to begin to come together as a community around things we can agree on, and heal the distrust and dissapointment created over the last 9 years. Why then, are petitioners aggressively trying to get signatures by misleading people that it is the County that needs to be convinced to build a trail? Why was a parent and occasional teacher approaching people in the lobby of my daughter’s elementary school trying to get them to sign, and being not-so-nice if they refused? Why was the new owner of Brookton’s market misled that this was not a controversial issue when he was asked to place a petition there? A friend who teaches at the high school was giving an exam when he was interrupted by a petitioner, and when he said he did not support the trail, he had a hard time getting the petitioner to go away? The behavior by the people pushing for this recreation trail has been consistent from the beginning: dishonesty, disrespect for the residents of our valley who would be affected, and a disregard for the good of our community.

I want the members of the Town Board to know how much we appreciate the way you have listened and held off from any action while the facts come to light. This would be a good time to put an end to the whole thing to send a clear message to the public, to avoid further damage to our community.


Scott Van Gaasbeck