Croton GOP (updated website) affiliate Robert Wintermeier, owner of collectible toy concern Spillway Toy Soldiers and member of local activist group, Concerned Citizens of Croton (see “The Closing Bell”), led by Maria Cudequest, was left flat-footed after he wrongly offered his thanks for two recent legal victories to reluctant Village Attorney Marianne Stecich, as he stood at the podium during the “citizen participation non-agenda items” section of the regularly scheduled Village Board of Trustees meeting held on January 3, 2006.
Video transcript follows:
…The main reason for coming this evening was first of all to thank Marianne (Village of Croton-on-Hudson Attorney Marianne Stecich) for the two wins that we’ve had in 2005, and that’s the Allied in where we were able to oust that construction and demolition organization from down by the railroad tracks for some violations which were precedent setting as far as I’m concerned. No longer can anybody within this Village or anywhere else in New York State say that they can allow that waste and transfer, waste transfer stations can come in a jeopardize the health and welfare of the public. That has been decided by the New York State Supreme Court that was done by you folks and I congratulate on that.
Ah, I’m also happy that we were able to win the Federal case against NIR. Ah, that’s another win. I am disappointed however and that’s my reason for coming that the Westchester County, ahhh, Solid Waste Commission gave NIR a permit. And as I read the papers and I listen to, or take a look at the blog, people tell me to take a look a the blog, ahhh, I get the feeling that we’re finally coming down to two points. Now, I remember ah, when we first started to take on Allied there was a chart that Leo presented, it was a flow chart, and in that flow chart, there were all kinds of options. It seems like those options are the same options that everybody keeps on talking about, over and over and over again. There’s nothing new with those options.
My concern is that we’ve come down to the point where the rubber meets the road and you’ve got to start making some decisions and so do your opponents. Are you going to negotiate with NIR and make a deal? Or are we going to stick to our prior position which is to fight them to the bitter end?
My personal reaction from reading some of the work that Marianne has put forth regarding the activities of NIR in Ohio and I believe it was in Connecticut also is that this is not a company to deal with. We learned the last time we tried to negotiate a deal with Allied that we couldn’t make a deal, it was unenforceable. The lawyers came back and said, “We cannot take action against this company, given this contract”. So, I’m personally still opposed to any type of negotiation. Ah, I still prefer to fight the battle we have to fight right now and I am hoping that you will continue to do that.
I have some other concerns. One of the concerns is (cough, cough), excuse me, that Judge Nicholai seems to be another on the case again. And I’m hopeful that given some recent publicity regarding Judge Nicholai, that we can have him removed from our court case. He has voted against us twice in the past, at least twice and I feel that ahhh, hopefully our legal staff can work to have him taken off this next decision.
Marianne, did you have a question or?”
Village Attorney Marianne Stecich responds to Robert Wintermeier by saying, “Yeah, I just wanted to say thank you for your thanks, but, just to clarify. I didn’t represent the Village in the Allied lawsuit (Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt chuckles, Bob Wintermeier adds, “That’s true” and laughs). Or actually, I didn’t write the papers before the STB, that was Mike Gerrard and his (inaudible)”.
While Ms. Stecich is speaking, Mr. Wintermeier interrupts by saying, “What I was really thanking was the Board in conjunction with those two is.”
After Mr. Wintermeier finishes, Ms. Stecich resumes and adds, “And then, just one other thing. I’m not going to discuss the substance of any litigation, but just so people understand, we probably don’t have any choice but to be before Judge Nicholai because he’s the um, only Judge in the environmental part and these cases automatically go into the environmental part. Even if that weren’t the case, whenever a case gets assigned to a judge, later cases get assigned to the same judge and it’s not a basis for saying you don’t want to go before the same judge because you lost before him. It’s just, it’s not going to work.”
Again, Mr. Wintermeier interrupts Ms. Stecich and says, “Well you see, I’m trying to precedent of vote going against us and then being overturned by the Supreme Court and other entities.”
Finally, Ms. Stecich tells Mr. Wintermeier, “There’s nothing we, there’s nothing we can do in the current application that is before Judge Nicholai.”
Mr. Wintermeier retreats from the podium and says, “O.K. Thanks.”
Trustee Thomas Brennan adds, “Thanks Bob.”