January 10, 2013

Developer sues critic

It's not here, but over in Halfmoon. Despite state laws to the contrary, some folks can't seem to handle the idea that someone might point out that their poor past performance is not a sign of brighter things to come.

like a rising number people in Halfmoon, Rischert has grown concerned with the quantity and quality of development in a town that's among the state's fastest growing. In particular, he recently spoke out against a 165-unit apartment complex proposed by developer Bruce Tanski...

Rischert seems to have gotten under Tanksi's skin. Last month, the developer filed a slander and libel suit in which he seeks $2.5 million in damages and claims to have suffered "disgrace, humiliation and shame throughout the community, permanent harm to his professional and personal reputations, and severe mental anguish and emotional distress."

...what Rischert did was question the standards of Tanksi's prior projects and his property-management history. He cited poor reviews about Tanksi's complexes on apartment-rental websites, for example, and he noted that the U.S. Attorney General had once sued Tanski for alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act.

Rischert also claimed that Tanski himself had admitted to being a sub-par builder.

Tanski's lawsuit is unlikely to succeed - "New York has an anti-SLAPP law that extends special protections to speech that opposes a person or company seeking an approval from the government." However, the mere filing of it means that Bruce Rischert now has a lot more stress than he had before, and suddenly makes a lot more people think twice about speaking up.

I need to find out more about the "much-needed legislation that would strengthen SLAPP protections" and write about it. In the meantime, if you want to help in this particular case, there's a fund set up to help pay the legal funds - banding together may be the one way to keep this obnoxious practice from spreading:

Bruce Rischert Legal Defense Fund
PO Box 75
Clifton Park, N.Y. 12065.

It's not just the gas companies who use misguided lawsuits as a club.

Posted by simon at January 10, 2013 7:57 AM in
Note on photos