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July 25, 2014
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Lang digs up dirt against Tusten Community Garden; Alleged ethics violations unearthed

Tusten Councilman Ned Lang and Town Attorney Jeffrey Clemente bump heads at the April 9 town board meeting in Narrowsburg, NY.
TRR photos by Isabel Braverman


The exchange escalated into a shouting match, with the two talking over one another, until Wingert tried to put a stop to it by saying, “This conversation is over.” It continued for a bit longer until councilman Anthony Ritter diverted attention by talking about the Narrowsburg fireworks and mentioning that the flyers requesting funding have been printed.

The issue was put to rest until the public comment period. Just when it seemed the public comments were over, Tusten resident Andrea Shochet quietly raised her hand. During her comment, she said, “It’s a vegetable garden that we’re talking about here.” She went on to say, “There are different ways to handle things, you can either come together or hit the big red button. As an example of hitting a big red button it would be as if, for instance, I were to contact the Department of Elections and let them know that a newly elected official has yet to file a single campaign finance report, which is punishable either by fines leading anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000, and potentially a misdemeanor. And in this age of wanting financial transparency among our board and among our town and everything else, I find it contradictory and I find it despicable.”

The newly elected official she referred to is Lang.

Are the seeds of an audit being sown? The conflict is ongoing and awaiting a resolution. At the next board meeting on May 14, the town auditor from Cooper, Neimann & Co. will speak.

This is not the only potential lawsuit that Lang and the board are involved in. During the meeting, Wingert read a letter from attorney John Hector on behalf of Lang regarding a lawsuit against the town that claims “malicious prosecution, libel, slander, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of civil rights, interference with economic advantage and civil harassment.” The items of damage or injuries claimed are “loss of business time, damage to reputation, attorney’s fees and related expenses.” The claim is in reference to Lang’s legal battles regarding signs that he had attached to his properties which members of the board believe violated town code.

The disputes do not end there. Also at the meeting, it was brought up that at the March 6 meeting, Lang had voted on a resolution concerning the Narrowsburg St. Patrick’s Day parade, of which Lang was the organizer. Councilman Ritter brought to attention that this is a violation of the Tusten Code of Ethics, and that Lang should have recused himself from the vote. Lang disagreed with the claim, making the point that the parade was not a commercial enterprise. The discussion was tabled.