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Silver Lake developer claims collusion in APA

The ex parte rule, in summary, says state agency members involved in a hearing cannot communicate with any person about the hearing without providing an opportunity for all parties involved to participate; such as providing copies of their written correspondence.

The letter, signed by Adirondack Council legislative director Scott Lorey, specifically names Douglas as a developer "most in need of deterrence" and urges the APA to "carefully investigate his developments and take decisive action against all infractions of the APA Act and Freshwater Wetlands Act."

The letter is dated April 7, 2008, just days before the APA enforcement committee rejected Douglas's application to have a prior APA enforcement proceeding against him thrown out.

Norfolk also cites a series of e-mails to APA staff that speak specifically about Douglas's enforcement matter and directs Van Cott to take specific action in order to find Douglas in violation.

"I am prepared to support whatever you can do here with my own legal team to back you up and help with research and other tasks," one of the e-mails states. "Please deal with this with all the force that the APA has in its arsenal."

The sender's identity in each of the four e-mails is blacked out with marker, but Norfolk said they came from Adirondack Council Chairman Brian Ruder, whom Douglas said also owns land along Silver Lake.

Norfolk also points to e-mails and faxes written by APA staff that he says indicates the agency shared information about Douglas's enforcement with a private citizen, also believed to be Ruder, in some cases prior to sharing it with Douglas's attorney.

"It creates the appearance of impropriety," Norfolk said. "and to have [Ruder] involved in the prosecution and enforcement of another individual is wrong."

But the APA responded Sept. 29, denying any impropriety or conspiracy to hinder Douglas's plans for development.

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