Ruling in Cascino case not expected soon

CLAVERACK—The presentation of proof in a hearing on two orders to show cause why Salvatore Cascino should not be held in contempt of court wrapped up at the temporary County Courthouse December 11.

The case, which resumed December 9, was the continuation of July 31 and August 8 proceedings in which Acting State Supreme Court Judge Jonathan Nichols is hearing evidence about Mr. Cascino’s defiance of a restraining order issued in 2009.

Mr. Cascino, 74, is a convicted scofflaw who lives in Larchmont and owns 300 acres along the east side of Route 22, a place he calls Copake Valley Farm.

For the past 16 years, Mr. Cascino has racked up violations of federal, state and town laws there for illegal dumping, and for building and excavating without proper permits.

Proceedings resumed with Copake Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer Ed Ferratto on the stand answering questions posed by Mr. Cascino’s attorney Brian Gardner about construction work Mr. Cascino performed on the farmstand.

Mr. Cascino had apparently been issued a building permit limited to repair work to remedy an unsafe condition. Yet Mr. Cascino continued work beyond the scope of the permit and essentially rebuilt and combined two structures into one large one, according to Mr. Ferratto.

The building inspector also testified that he had been called to the Cascino property to inspect a stone wall that Mr. Cascino had recently disassembled. In making his way to the stone wall, Mr. Ferratto said he stumbled upon a lengthy trench that Mr. Cascino has dug without benefit of a permit. Mr. Gardner also called Planning Board Chair Marcia Becker and Town Supervisor Jeff Nayer to the stand.

On Tuesday December 10, after Mr. Cascino returned to the courtroom two hours after the start of a one hour lunch break, Attorney Victor Meyers, who represents the Town of Copake and filed the motions in the two cases, called two truck drivers who work for Mr. Cascino to the stand.

The men testified about the hundreds of loads of “fill” they hauled from Bronx County Recycling, now called New York Recycling, over many months and dumped on the Cascino property under the direction of Mr. Cascino.

Department of Environmental Conservation Investigator Jesse Paluch took the stand December 11 to tell the court that he witnessed the dumping May 14. He saw and documented that the material was finely pulverized construction and demolition (c+d) debris and subsequent tests concluded that it was “unrecognizable and contaminated.”

Because the material constituted solid waste under DEC regulations, Mr. Cascino is now is now not only in violation of a settlement agreement with DEC, but is also breaking another Environmental Conservation Law—the unlawful disposal of solid waste.

Attorneys in the matter now have until January 24 to submit legal papers detailing the findings of fact and conclusions about how they each think the judge should decide.

The judge will render a decision sometime thereafter.

To contact Diane Valden email .

 

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