Continental Commons Owner initiates federal Racketeering (RICO) suit against associates of the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot; alleges that Defendants committed mail fraud, wire fraud
Demands federal jury trial
August 26, 2021
Domenico Broccoli, GLD3, LLC, Snook-9 Realty, Inc.
Lance Ashworth, Mara Farrell, Greenhouse Consultants Incorporated, Hunter Research, Inc., Richard W. Hunter, Douglas Mackey, William Sandy, Stephen Thomson
JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
Fishkill NY: Fishkill property owner, Domenico Broccoli recently filed a civil racketeering suit (RICO) against associates of a group called Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot (FOFSD). The suit alleges a fraudulent scheme to block and delay Broccoli’s plans to develop his property at the corner of NYS RT-9 and Interstate 84 in Fishkill, NY. It also argues that Defendants conspired to devalue the property, so as to force Broccoli to abandon or sell it to them for pennies on the dollar.
The suit includes claims that the Defendants’, through the enterprise FOFSD, trespassed on the property on several occasions, physically altered the property, and seeded the property with artifacts. The complaint also states that the Defendants altered archaeological studies and have made intentional and knowingly false statements regarding the archaeology and history of Broccoli’s property to the public, financial donors, elected officials, government bodies, courts and the media. These falsehoods intentionally caused Mr. Broccoli’s property to be considered as a Revolutionary War preservation site and the location of the largest Revolutionary War soldier’s cemetery in the country.
Mr. Broccoli contends that the Defendants’ actions are not based in patriotism or an altruistic desire to preserve American history. Instead, their scheme is based in greed and corruption, with the aim of acquiring the property.
“My plans for developing the property, which took more than five years to receive state and local approval, include building an 18th century colonial village of restaurants, shops, inn, visitor center and living museum. Originally, I hoped to work with the Defendants to provide visitors with a dynamic, interactive historic learning experience. In fact, I even offered to donate two acres of my property and a small, unidentified burial area to the FOFSD in 2013,” says Mr. Broccoli. “However, it was rebuffed by defendant FOFSD President Lance Ashworth. He tried to strong arm me, he told me that it wasn’t enough, and that his group wanted the entire 10-acre parcel.”
The complaint includes known Ashworth’s associates Hudson Valley public relations consultant Mara Farrell and registered professional archaeologist William “Bill” Sandy, among others. It includes statements captured by audio recording where Ashworth stated the Defendants’ goal of acquiring the property:
“We’re on intersecting paths. We are going to keep on telling people about it. The land value is going to be down. He is going to be like ‘[expletive]’ the only people I can sell it to are those guys. We are going to strangle him basically. Bleed him out."
It is alleged that Ashworth and his associates want the property that is valued at millions of dollars so they can start a cultural tourism business based on their false claims that it is the site of the largest Revolutionary War soldiers’ cemetery in the country. Plaintiffs further allege that Defendants also stood to benefit from more than $3 million dollars in federal and state grants.
In order to make these grants available to the group, the complaint asserts that Defendants, using false statements about the property, lobbied United States Senator Charles Schumer (NY) to change the National Park Service grant eligibility to include non-battle related Revolutionary War sites. Schumer went so far as to invite Defendant Farrell to testify before the United States Senate, during which she made knowingly false statements including, “Hundreds of graves have been sited on one portion of the undeveloped acres.” Farrell also made her motive clear when she told senators, “I come with hope that critical funding and protection will become available…”. Farrell's testimony helped persuade the United States Congress to change eligibility for National Parks Service (NPS) grants. Later, the FOFSD would apply for and receive its first round of federal funding through the NPS. The group used the grant to help fund its “strangle” and “bleed” scheme.
The Defendants also benefited from charitable donations unwittingly made by military personnel, veterans, and descendants of Revolutionary War soldiers connected to Fishkill Supply Depot.
Broccoli adds, “Their goal is not to preserve history, but to fabricate and destroy it. Things they have been telling people about the archaeology on my property and the history of Fishkill since 2009 are all based on lies, I proved it in state court last year, and now I will prove it in federal court under oath. As Mr. Ashworth put it, he wants to ‘strangle me, and make me bleed out financially.’ These are very disturbing words, especially when they are launched from the mouth of a Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent. The Defendants’ lies hurt more than me; they hurt all of those who want to preserve history; they hurt the taxpayers of Fishkill who have been denied economic activity, tax revenue, and jobs; and saddest of all, they hurt the good faith charitable contributors who were unaware that they were funding a racketeering scheme.
“We have ALL fallen victim to the FOFSD’s fraud and false statements. Therefore, I have had enough, and have decided to speak up, and stand up, for our country’s core values of fundamental fairness, truth, the facts, and the law.”
Broccoli explains, “In fact, the FOFSD is a front to commit, and perpetrate fraud, and ultimately seize control of real property that I have owned since 1986 and to continue to profit from it. I have worked very hard through the years to pay for, and maintain this property for my children and grandchildren’s future, and there’s no way these racketeers are going to take it away from my family. Today, I exercised my rights as a United States citizen, and have asked the federal court for a jury trial, and filed a Civil Racketeering suit against the so called “patriots” who perpetrated the scheme. I pray to God that the court will grant us an opportunity to proceed and expose the fraud and malfeasance committed by them. A long time ago, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said that sunlight is the best of disinfectants. This suit will allow the sun to shine, on the malfeasance and misdeeds of perpetrators of a racketeering scheme."
“I look forward to confronting these thugs who publicly smeared my family’s name and undermined our credibility, destroyed our country’s history, and lied to the community. It’s time for these Defendants to face justice. I just hope that they have the courage to do so. In fact, they have been falsely telling people in the community that I was lying about my archaeological reports and paying off archaeologists all these years so let’s set the record straight, under oath, once and for all,” concludes Broccoli.
About Continental Commons
Continental Commons is a development proposed for the gateway of Fishkill and Dutchess County, at the intersection of Interstate 84 and NYS RT-9, it is located across from the Dutchess Mall. The proposal will transform the area and create public access to a small portion of the original Fishkill Supply Depot site and tell the real story of our country’s fight for independence.
The planned 18th century colonial village will function as a commercial, social, and educational center with restaurants, shops, inn, visitor center and a living museum – both preserving and developing the property. This quaint, walkable development will be a popular destination for merchants and visitors alike.
With a design that integrates architectural features from historically significant buildings in Dutchess County during the time of the American Revolutionary War, the proposal tries to capture the essence of the Fishkill Supply Depot and its importance during the Revolution.
About Fishkill Supply Depot
Like much of the land in Fishkill and neighboring towns, the Continental Commons property falls within the sprawling boundaries of what has been dubbed by modern historians as the “Fishkill Supply Depot.”
The term “Fishkill Supply Depot,” first used by archaeologists in the 1970s, has been used consistently in archaeological and historical literature to refer to very different properties. First, it has been used to refer to the overall historic depot used during the Revolutionary War. This larger depot consisted of a wide range of diverse and distinct facilities including: a harbor and docks, hospitals, soldiers’ barracks, prisons, and horse stables. They were not located on contiguous property, but instead dispersed for miles throughout a large area of portions of the Village of Fishkill, East Fishkill and extending as far south as Snow Valley and as far west as Fishkill Landing, which is now known as the City of Beacon.