My name is John Maye. I'm from the town of Black Brook, and I just want to pass on an experience that my wife and I had. Let's see, our property was purchased in the mid-1980s from New York State Gas and Electric. The property was advertised tor sale in the [inaudible] Express Republican, and I was the only bidder. In the early 1990s, we built a camp on the site of an existing structure. We lived at the camp on and off until the late 1990s when I retired. After retirement, we couldn't afford to pay taxes on two properties so we sold our home and moved to Camp. The Nature Conservancy approached us several times to sell our property and we weren't interested. In March 25, '08, I received a letter from the Adirondack Park Agency Enforcement Committee that we had a violation of the New York State Rules and Regulations, Enforcement file number E204043. The violation was triggered by a complaint received by individuals paddling by my property. DEC and APA personnels were the folks that complained. The Nature Conservancy also told the Black Brook Town Board that they were going to have access to State land South of the Silver Lake Road, that access could only [inaudible] would have to involve my property. The Nature Conservancy was aware of the conjured up violations by APA and DEC to force sale of my property. The same tactics used by the Rockefellers in the Turn of the Century. March 25, 2008, my total maximum penalty was $2,962,000, with a daily penalty of $2,000. This is environmental terrorism. I would like to read the last letter that the Agency sent me:
"Mr. and Mrs. Maye. Thank you for the courtesy and time allowing me to visit your property last week and talk to you about the history of your property. Based on this visit and our discussion, this enforcement matter is now formally closed."
That's after 4 years, you know. Something's wrong here, somewhere. We don't support any tax-exempt status for The Nature Conservancy. Now I have a letter that my wife drafted. I'd like to read that to you.
"We had to sell our home our family of five shared and loved for 40 years because we could no longer afford to pay the taxes on our two pieces of property. We left our son and his family, who lived next door, and our neighbors, the comfort and familiarity and our safe haven ... we took our precious memories and moved to the two-room camp on our other properties."
"It was zoned 15 miles away, but still."
"Our crime was camp was on land that The Nature Conservancy wanted to buy then sell to the State for profit. The APA, a co-conspirator, informed us our home was illegal according to someone who floated by the river. Also, this person who remains nameless, is now conveniently dead."
I don't know if it's conveniently or not ... but at the time of this letter. They went to tell us that the fine could be $2,800,000, plus $2,000 a day because we enjoyed it ... the property. No kidding.
We have the letter, plus we would need to tear down our home and re-build it wherever the AP A deemed appropriate. I know then that we would die first. The only thing that I can liken the APA to is a notorious Adirondack black fly. Once it smells your breath, it will never leave you alone until it gets what it wants ... your blood. Other opinions ... you can kill it or you can move to Florida. Needless to say, I spent countless sleepless nights trying to make sense to a democratic country that treats their innocent citizens as criminals. It literally made me sick. I was tortured with thoughts of having my home taken from me again, telling me where to go and what to do then, when you are this desperate. I can't even begin to express the toll all this has taken on my health and the way I think. I now see a doctor for nervous problems, both of which, we believe, this was brought on with the greed of people wanting something that is not theirs, namely the State of New York and The Nature Conservancy. If in these hard times the State of New York is looking to offer tax exemptions and someone worthy, look no further than the Adirondack people who have. suffered every way possible, just not to have to leave their homes. Thank you.