HUDSON–Acting State Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Nichols confirmed last week his ruling that Salvatore Cascino must pay the Town of Copake $21,609.97 in attorney fees.
In June 2009, Judge Nichols found Mr. Cascino and his business entities: 13 Lackawanna Properties, LLC and Copake Valley Farm, LLC, in criminal and civil contempt for violating a temporary restraining order issued by the court November 27, 2006.
The restraining order prohibited Mr. Cascino from constructing, excavating or depositing anything on his 300-acre property called Copake Valley Farm.
Mr. Cascino, a resident of Larchmont, owns a Bronx-based waste hauling business. For the past 13 years he has amassed violations of federal, state and town law on his property along the east side of Route 22.
As part of the contempt finding, the court ordered Mr. Cascino to pay “the reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees expended by” the Town of Copake in the course of suing Mr. Cascino for contempt.
Also in connection with the contempt finding, the judge ordered Mr. Cascino to remove a stone wall and all the materials deposited on his property that were put there in violation of the restraining order and to stop all construction work on a building referred to as a farm stand.
Attorney for Copake, Victor Meyers submitted the required claim for expenses to verify the amount of the attorney fees to be paid by Mr. Cascino, and a hearing was conducted on the matter in September 2009.
After hearing the evidence presented and reading all the legal submissions that followed, Judge Nichols ruled that the reasonable costs and attorney fees due to the Town of Copake to be paid by Mr. Cascino is $21,609.97.
The amount, the judge wrote in his April 19 decision, represents the “actual loss suffered “by the Town of Copake due to Mr. Cascino’s misconduct.
The judge’s ruling on the attorney fees “is a good thing,” said Attorney Meyers, noting that if Mr. Cascino does not pay up, the town will have to enter a judgment that will become a lien and attach his assets.
Since Mr. Cascino has also appealed the judge’s contempt rulings, he may be waiting for the decision on his appeal before making payment, said Mr. Meyers, noting that arguments were heard on that matter last month, and a decision may come next month.
Mr. Cascino is also still on the hook for $15,000 due the town for fees it paid to consultants during the Planning Board’s consideration of Mr. Cascino’s plan to construct several massive buildings. The proposal was unanimously rejected by the Planning Board in November 2008, but Mr. Cascino has sued to overturn the Planning Board’s decision.
Dennis Schlenker, Mr. Cascino’s attorney, said through his receptionist that he does not comment on pending matters.
In other recent court proceedings involving Mr. Cascino, he was criminally indicted by State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo April 12 on two violations of state Environmental Conservation Law for illegally dumping solid waste at property off Route 9G in Clermont. A trial in that case is set for October 9.