Sweeney “stands ready” to drop pursuit of Switzkill Farm, but asks for time to search for mystery document
BERNE – John Sweeney, who represents three Bernese in their quest for cancel the 2014 purchase by Bern of the 100-acre Switzkill farm property, is ready to drop the lawsuit in favor of a negotiated settlement, but not before he has had the opportunity to request a new document from the city which he says will be “decisive for the outcome”, according to the files of the court.
In a request for an additional 30 days, Sweeney wrote to Supreme Court Justice Christina L. Ryba that he was about to drop the proceedings before he was “officially informed” that the city had a document which ” would weigh heavily on the accuracy of this decision.
It is unclear what type of document Sweeney is referring to, as the application he submitted sets out 14 general criteria that would essentially include all material that refers to Switzkill Farm. Sweeney told Enterprise this week that he himself didn’t know “what it was all about,” hence the big catch.
“We are awaiting a potential litigation so I am very careful with my words and what I say here,” said Sweeney, “but we believe that within the limits of what we have asked for there are documents. that are compelling that we had no prior knowledge of. As soon as we have it, we will certainly share it with you and the public. ”
Sweeney said “parties involved” told him there were documents that would affect his decision to drop the case, which he said he was prepared to do because he was “concerned by continuing “the litigation.
“I think there is an opportunity for a negotiated settlement,” said Sweeney, “so I don’t want to hamper that opportunity… but then this new information got to us, so we’re waiting to see what that says. “
Berne supervisor Sean Lyons and city attorney Javid Afzali did not respond to Enterprise inquiries about the mystery document. Jon Crain, the attorney representing Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy – a nonprofit that facilitated the town’s purchase – declined to comment on the case.
Lyons, a Republican who oversees a GOP-backed city council, has been accused by Democrats of letting Switzkill Farm fall into disrepair, rather than taking the actions some residents, including former supervisor Kevin Crosier and former Councilor Karen Schimmer, both Democrats who voted in favor of the purchase in 2o14, feel necessary to turn property into a money generator.
Afzali announced at a city council meeting last July, just months before former state Supreme Court justice Thomas Spargo and two other residents with Republican affiliations, that the 2014 purchase was likely invalid because residents had not been informed of their supposed right to a permissive referendum. Croisier, which is not directly involved in the ongoing lawsuit, and the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy have argued that the purchase has not been the subject of a permissive referendum because it was done with cash on hand, rather than a loan.
The return date for the case is April 5.