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Ned Lang to sue Tusten; Freedom of speech is at issue

By Fritz Mayer
June 25, 2014

NARROWSBURG, NY — Councilmember Ned Lang, who has been involved with at least two legal battles with the Town of Tusten dating back to issues regarding signs about gas drilling in 2011, is now launching a lawsuit of his own against the town.

Lang read a statement over the phone on June 24 saying he had hired Robert Isseks of Isseks and Smith of Middletown, “to file this litigation to hold those in the Town of Tusten who are responsible for violating my First Amendment rights numerous times, and they still are today.

“If they are bold and irrational enough to do this to me, and attempt to take away the primary right of each and every American, the freedom of speech, knowing that I have the resolve and wherewithal to defend myself, they will do it to every Tusten resident whose message they don’t like, and that is not OK.”

According to a letter to the editor Lang wrote in January 2013, he was “arraigned in Tusten town court in August 2011, facing criminal and civil penalties,” over the sign on his building, while by his estimation there were about 20 other signs that were “nonconforming,” that were not being acted against.

Lang claims the town attorney, Jeffrey Clemente, sought a $96,000 fine at the time.

In 2012, Lang was charged with additional violations by the town code enforcement officer over signage and other issues, but the lawsuits were ultimately dropped.

Supervisor Carol Wingert could not immediately be reached for comment.