Continental Commons Owner Sues Over Planting of Bones
Seeks Injunctive Relief, Not Monetary Damages
Fishkill, New York - November 17, 2017: Yesterday, GLD3, LLC, owner of property in the Town of Fishkill where it has proposed to develop a colonial village known as Continental Commons, filed a civil lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Dutchess County seeking injunctive relief against Martin “Marty” Byster. Mr. Byster was caught on tape admitting in front of eye-witnesses that he and unidentified accomplices planted bones on the GLD3 property -- the site of the proposed Continental Commons development -- near a foundation on the northern portion of the property, north of the known burial area that is located to the southwest corner of Route 9 and Van Wyck Road. On the audio tape, Mr. Byster can be heard saying “we buried bones,” but he does not identify who his accomplices are. Through discovery in this action, GLD3 believes it can and will identify the names of those who acted together with Mr. Byster in burying the bones on the property. Unlike most complaints that simply make allegations, this Complaint attaches two sworn affidavits, including one from one of the eyewitnesses.
The Complaint states that “despite their trying to wrongfully sabotage the proposed development, Plaintiff is not seeking damages against Defendants. Rather, Plaintiff merely seeks injunctive relief requiring Mr. Byster and his fellow Defendants to identify precisely where they buried the bones, locate them, and then remove them in accordance with applicable law.”
The Complaint also seeks a judgment that prevents Mr. Byster and other Defendants from entering Plaintiff’s property without permission and/or altering or otherwise planting additional false evidence on the property with the intention of further interfering with Plaintiff’s development of the property.”
Domenico Broccoli, who went to school in Dutchess County, and a graduate of the C.I.A. (i.e., Culinary Institute of America), has owned the Continental Commons property since 1987 said, “Mr. Byster’s planting of bones on the property in an attempt to sabotage my development cannot be tolerated. It must be corrected. Mr. Byster and his accomplices have not only injured my property and my ability to develop the land, by seeding the property with bones, but may have also forever distorted the history of Fishkill and the town’s role in the American Revolution.”
According to the Complaint, Mr. Byster buried the bones to thwart GLD3’s ability to develop the Continental Commons property into a colonial village complete with restaurants, shops, inn, visitor center and a living museum. Specifically, the Complaint alleges “Defendant Byster and the Doe Defendants buried the bones in the northern portion of the property by the foundation so that, once found, they can make the argument that despite the results of these archeological studies the burial area, or burials, in fact extended beyond the southwestern portion of the property into the northern portion of the property.”
The Complaint notes that “seeding the northern portion of the property with bones would do Mr. Byster and his accomplices no good unless those bones were discovered. Not surprisingly, in an effort to bring about the discovery of the bones he and his accomplices buried, Mr. Byster has been arguing that more study is needed in the northern portion of the property, including by the foundation area – the very same area where he and his accomplices had planted the bones.”
At its own expense, Mr. Broccoli has already preserved what might be a small Revolutionary War burial area, which sits on 0.4 acres in the Southwest corner of the 10.47-acre parcel between Route 9 and Van Wyck Road. Mr. Byster and his accomplices buried bones they hoped would be discovered in an attempt to misleadingly claim that the entire 10.47 acre parcel holds “the largest burial ground of the Revolutionary War.” Archeologists and the State have previously determined that the burial ground on the property is confined to its southwest corner, and does not extend in the area the developer seeks to develop.
Mr. Broccoli said, “I welcome a debate and the public’s input on the property. In fact, I have incorporated much of the public’s feedback into the Continental Commons plan. I respect the rights of those who oppose my plan. However, planting false evidence on my property is not part of the free exchange of ideas and will not be tolerated.”
The Continental Commons property was once part of the Fishkill Supply Depot, which was a sprawling ten square mile area that went from the Hudson River east to present day East Fishkill, North to present day Wappinger and south to Putnam County. The elements of the Fishkill Supply Depot within the 74-acre National Register Site area include the Van Wyck Homestead, a storehouse, the main barracks encampment, a blacksmith shop, and what may have been the artillery park. These sites, according to archeological reports, were all located outside the limits of the Continental Commons property.