Property Rights Foundation of America®
Founded 1994

In Six Parts
With Selected Speeches Published in Full

Fifteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights

Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.

October 29, 2011
Century House, Latham, New York

Photos: Peter J. LaGrasse

Part III

Morning Panel and Keynote Address


First Part of Morning Panel

Eminent Domain:
"Willets Point-A Unique Community Stands Against the City of New York"

Panel: Robert LoScalzo, Joseph Ardizzone, & Irene Prestigiacomo,
Willets Point United, Willets Point, Queens County, New York

Robert LoScalzo, Willets Point United

Mr. LoScalzo introduces the conference to the difficult status of the rights of property owners under the rulings of the highest court of the State of New York. Willets Point United speaks for property owners and small businesses fighting the City of New York's use of eminent domain to ravage their entire community of industrial businesses in Willets Point, Queens County.

Mr. LoScalzo's poster cites Justice James Catterson's statement that the New York State Court of Appeals in the Atlantic Yards and the Columbia University cases "made plain that there is no longer any judicial oversight of eminent domain proceedings."


Joseph Ardizzone Joseph Ardizzone, Irene Prestigiacomo, Carol LaGrasse, & Robert LoScalzo

Joseph Ardizzone, the Only Resident of Willets Point

Mr. Ardizzone, who has lived all his life in Willets Point, pointed to the folly of the City's eminent domain policy. He observed that the City already owns property nearby that could be developed instead of Willets Point. He called attention to the fact that the City took a block in Flushing to develop a bus terminal, but now it is not developed, the buildings unoccupied. He declared, "I feel sorry for the children of America if they are going to have to live under this."

Joseph Ardizzone, Irene Prestigiacomo, Carol LaGrasse, & Robert LoScalzo

Mrs. Prestigiacomo read a formal statement describing the incident on December 8, 2010, when she was blocked from entering Willets Point to visit her property, where approximately 75 city vehicles completely surrounded the core of Willets Point, "businesses were ransacked, employees were arrested, customers' cars towed away and impounded, private papers, … licenses, were taken," with "no proper warrants for inspection..." Yet there was not one stolen car found or criminal arrest made.

Full Speech of Irene Prestigiacomo


Second Part of Morning Panel

"Update on Olana"

Albert L. Wassenhove, Civic Leader
Ghent, N.Y.

Albert Wassenhove, Carol W. LaGrasse, Roland R. Vosburgh

Recognition Extended to Roland Vosburgh:
Albert L. Wassenhove, Carol W. LaGrasse & Roland R. Vosburgh

Mr. Wassenhove delivered an update on the status of the battle of the Mark Eger Family Farm in Columbia County to defend its plan to replace the telecommunications tower on the hill above its orchards, which is being obstructed by the friends of Olana and the National Park Service. Mr. Wassenhove played a key part in getting information to officials on the Columbia County Board of Supervisors when the National Park Service was intending to nominate Olana as a World Heritage Site.

As the Columbia County Planning Director, Roland Vosburgh provided a range of information to the Board of Supervisors enabling the officials to evaluate whether to support for the UNESCO nomination. They declined to express support and the Park Service subsequently dropped the nomination. Mrs. LaGrasse presented a replica of the Statue of Liberty to Mr. Vosburgh in appreciation for his courage and leadership in this issue and for his long-standing support for private property rights.

James W. Keegan, Former Chairman, Columbia County Board of Supervisors, to Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.— Letter, October 29, 2011.
Albert L. Wassenhove read this letter aloud at the Fifteenth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights. In the letter, Mr. Keegan writes, "I want to commend you on the excellent feature front page expose you published on the Olana versus Eger Family farm controversy in your Summer 2011 edition of the Property Rights Clearinghouse."

Afternoon Theme: Preserving Rural Communities
And the Hunting & Agricultural Heritage

Jigs Gardner, Jo Ann Gardner, Will Graves, Theo Dowling

Conferees Gather for Lunch at the Century House as a Blizzard Approaches New York and New England.

Jigs Gardner and his wife Jo Ann, co-authors of their exquisitely illustrated book, Gardens of Use and Delight, about establishing their farm and gardens on Cape Breton Island, listen in conversation with Will Graves, author of Wolves in Russia, while seated at their right is Theo Dowling of Washington, D.C., who represents the Cattlemen's Beef Association. The blizzard ultimately dropped two feet of snow on Connecticut and eastern and southern New York, leaving parts of Connecticut and eastern New York without power for almost a week. The Wall Street Journal reported that environment and zoning restrictions protecting trees caused well-developed parts of Connecticut to become a tangle of wires and downed trees.


Keynote Address
Will Graves

Author & International Expert
Millerville, Maryland
"What the U.S. Can Learn from Russian Wolves"

Will N. Graves

Will N. Graves, author of Wolves in Russia, Delivering the Keynote Address at the Fifteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights.

Wolves for Yellowstone discredited

Will Graves displays his copy of the much ballyhooed book Wolves for Yellowstone, which purportedly presented valid research in support of wolf reintroduction. The book had been persuasive, but Mr. Graves discredited it, point by point.


Photo Report Part IV
Eminent Domain:
"Willets Point-A Unique Community Stands Against the City of New York"

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