Supreme Court finally makes a move.

On August 16, the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court scheduled a disciplinary hearing for outgoing Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, for November 29.

Incumbent Parks Miller was defeated on both sides of the ballot by challenger Bernie Cantorna during the primary election on May 16, and will be out of office effective January 2018 when Cantorna is sworn in, if she doesn’t resign or get removed from office before then.

The scheduling of the hearing rendered the underlying Petition for Discipline, filed February 22, 2017 by Disciplinary Counsel Anthony Czuchnicki, a public document at last.

2.22.17 DB Petition for Discipline SPM

The Petition for Discipline makes clear that, since at least 2013, the Disciplinary Board has been investigating Parks Miller for ex parte communications with Centre County judges (Lunsford and Grine), false statements to investigators, and unethical contact with criminal defendants.

And that the investigators found ample evidence supporting the allegations, despite Parks Miller’s false denials (also known as lies) and attempts to withhold and destroy evidence.

Disciplinary Board investigators found evidence that Parks Miller has repeatedly violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by:

  1. seeking to influence judges by means prohibited by law – 3.5(a);
  2. communicating ex parte with judges during proceedings without authorization by law or court order – 3.5(b);
  3. making false statements of material fact or law to a third person in the course of representing a client – 4.1(a);
  4. implying that she was disinterested in dealing on behalf of a client with a person not represented by counsel – 4.3(a);
  5. failing to make reasonable efforts to correct an unrepresented person’s misunderstanding of her role – 4.3(c);
  6. failing to make reasonable efforts to ensure that nonlawyers under her direct supervisory authority engaged in conduct compatible with the professional obligations of attorneys – 5.3(b);
  7. ordering, ratifying, and/or failing to avoid or mitigate conduct of nonlawyers that would be a violation if engaged in by a lawyer – 5.3(c)1; 5.3(c)2;
  8. knowingly making false statements of material fact in connection with a disciplinary matter – 8.1(a);
  9. knowingly failing to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority, in connection with a disciplinary matter – 8.1(b);
  10. violating or attempting to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, and/or knowingly assisting or inducing others to do so – 8.4(a);
  11. engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation – 8.4(c);
  12. engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice – 8.4(d);
  13. knowingly assisting a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law – 8.4(f)

For background, please see the Centre County DA series compilation of reports published by Bailiwick News between Dec. 16, 2016 and May 13, 2017.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

While it’s great that there is finally some movement by the Supreme Court to actually address the rampant abuse of power conducted by Parks Miller since at least 2013, it’s tragic – and a shameful sign of the Supreme Court’s cowardice – that it’s taken them four years to take action.

Judges from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, but especially Centre County and Harrisburg judges, have known of the misconduct for years, let it slide, and sealed public records and public hearings that would have allowed citizens and journalists an opportunity to hold Parks Miller accountable.

As a result, many hundreds of people – criminal defendants, their families, victims of crime, whistleblowers and civil litigants subjected to Parks Millers retributive lawsuits – have been grievously harmed by the miscarriage of justice and abuse of power.

That suffering was preventable, but the Supreme Court judges did not act to protect those people’s rights.

The public burden of that failure to protect the integrity of the courts – the loss of trust in and credibility of the county and state judiciary – will linger long after Parks Miller is out of office, disciplined, disbarred and/or charged with crimes and tried.

 

 

 

Perspectives on Charlottesville

I rarely post about national and international developments, because I believe that individuals and small groups can have an influence at the local level which they can never have at larger scales.

This is one of those rare occasions, though, because I am extremely committed to the value of journalism for real-time checks on abuses of political power and as the source of the first, rough drafts of history.

And I’m equally committed to the value of public access to reliable contemporary and historical records – of whatever form – which are essential for the complex lifelong processes of creating individual, community and cultural identities.

Intensifying public campaigns to prohibit certain types of free speech and public assembly, and broadening campaigns to destroy historical records such as monuments, fundamentally threaten those values.

The question for me always comes back to: “Who will decide what information each and every person in the public square should be allowed to hear and see and read?”

The First Amendment is there to make sure that the people in the public square have access to as much information as speakers and record-publishers can provide: the uplifting, the abhorrent and everything in between.

Because permanent gatekeepers to information – empowered to manipulate public perception for their own benefit, without unfettered pushback and credibility-checks from other voices – are far more dangerous to the body politic than neo-Nazis or Antifa.

I’m posting links to other writers whose views I agree with, who have written excellent essays in recent days.

Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper:

Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept:

  • The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville – “The flaws and dangers in this anti-free speech mindset are manifest, but nonetheless always worth highlighting, especially when horrific violence causes people to want to abridge civil liberties in the name of stopping it. In sum, purporting to oppose fascism by allowing the state to ban views it opposes is like purporting to oppose human rights abuses by mandating the torture of all prisoners…Beyond that, the contradiction embedded in this anti-free speech advocacy is so glaring. For many of those attacking the ACLU here, it is a staple of their worldview that the U.S. is a racist and fascist country and that those who control the government are right-wing authoritarians. There is substantial validity to that view. Why, then, would people who believe that simultaneously want to vest in these same fascism-supporting authorities the power to ban and outlaw ideas they dislike? Why would you possibly think that the List of Prohibited Ideas will end up including the views you hate rather than the views you support?”

Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg:

  • A few thoughts on Charlottesville – “…we need to review some obvious facts. Neo-nazis and antifa didn’t destroy the middle class. They didn’t start an unnecessary and barbaric war in Iraq either. Neither of these groups jack up prescription drugs, nor do they poison your water or food supply. Oligarchs and their political minions do that. Violent Americans dressing up in Halloween costumes aren’t the real threat, oligarchs are, but the corporate media doesn’t want to talk about that. This is precisely why they focus so heavily on clueless protestors and counter-protestors punching each other. It benefits the true power structure in America… Personally, I’m not going to be manipulated into thinking these fringe groups of lunatics represent the real problem in America. I know who really ran this country into the ground, and it’s not them. It’s the oligarchs and their apologists who are now out there acting like the voice of reason.”
  • Americans are rapidly descending into madness
  • Nazi fears and ‘hate speech’ hysteria are being pushed to attack civil liberties – “Lesson number one. Don’t let terrible people get away with moral preening about some relatively insignificant Nazi threat when these are the very same people who have run this country and much of the world into the toilet bowl. Lesson number two. Don’t allow authoritarians to manipulate your emotions about white supremacy (or any other threat for that matter) as an excuse to take away cherished civil liberties.”

And, although his essay preceded the Charlottesville events, John Michael Greer at Ecosophia:

  • Hate is the new sex – “…That’s what happens whenever people decide that an ordinary human emotion is unacceptable and insist that good people don’t experience it. A culture of pretense, hypocrisy, and evasion springs up to allow them to vent the unacceptable emotion on some set of acceptable targets without admitting that they were doing so. That’s what emerged in Victorian society once people convinced themselves that sexual desire was the root of all evil, and it’s what has emerged in our time as people have convinced themselves that hate fills the same role. In a very real sense, these days, hate is the new sex…”

And also an ACLU pamphlet on the subject:

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression, for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” – Thomas Paine

Toll Brothers identifies alternative student housing sites; key SCBWA meeting today; PSU Move-In Day Saturday

TOLL BROTHERS IDENTIFIES ALTERNATIVE SITES

NVWC Press Release

Nittany Valley Water Coalition (NVWC) held a follow-up meeting with Charles Elliott of Toll Brothers developers on Wednesday, August 16 to discuss Toll Brothers’ recent review of alternative State College sites for student housing.

On August 2, NVWC presented Toll Brothers with detailed information about PSU lands suitable for building closer to campus.

NVWC has been leading a community effort to pressure Penn State, the current landowner, and Toll to relocate a planned development on Whitehall Road to a site that does not risk local water safety. The current 44 acre site is located uphill from the Thomas-Harter wells.

Elliott and his team have now ranked several PSU properties with respect to zoning and infrastructure and identified several as viable alternatives if township officials and PSU officials will facilitate a “land swap” and any needed approvals. The top ranked site is located on West College Avenue in front of the Blue Course golf property. Elliott stated that while further corporate economic and structural viability assessments are needed, the alternative site was attractive for its proximity to campus and downtown amenities.

Concerned citizens have occupied the Whitehall Road site continuously for 75 days and will continue community efforts to stop the Whitehall development.

Incoming PSU students and their families will be informed of the issue with a water and flyer distribution on Saturday, August 19.

Meanwhile, a citizen appeal is pending in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

For additional information, contact Terry Melton, terrymelton321@gmail.com, 814-883-8154, or visit nittanyvalleywatercoalition.org

KEY MEETING AT WATER AUTHORITY – 4 p.m. TODAY

From Save State College’s Water Supply

Come ask the SCBWA board today – Thursday, August 17, 4 p.m. at 1201 East Branch Road – why they said in their July 31 public statement that the Tolls have a no blasting policy for their development plan.

That is incorrect.

There IS BLASTING permitted in the development plan for our watershed.

Why would the board issue a public statement with such a massive oversight?

The Water Authority missed this but the citizens did not.

Blasting is THE MAJOR THREAT during construction phase.

We can’t get sloppy now.

While seeming quite promising for a land swap, the negotiations may still fall through.

Come to the water authority board meeting. Let them know we’re watching even when they aren’t.

AUGUST 19 – PSU MOVE-IN DAY ACTION

From NVWC Organizer David Hughes

This weekend on Saturday August 19, between 10:45 and 2 p.m. we will be handing out water and information for parents and new students/current students.

We had a great day August 16 and made significant progress with Toll Brothers.

But we really need to keep the pressure on PSU and this weekend is a great opportunity to share information.

Please do join if you can and let me know if you will so we can organize. We will have some students join from the Young Dems.

To volunteer – contact David Hughes at davidpeterhughes@gmail.com

 

Watershed Management – Public Comment Deadline August 26

Water and Farmland Protection Fight Updates

There’s been quite a lot of activity this summer around the proposed luxury student housing development atop Penn State-owned land upslope and proximal to the State College Borough Water Authority Harter-Thomas wells.

Readers interested in catching up can visit the Nittany Valley Water Coalition Facebook page, the Save State College Water Supply Facebook page, the NVWC website, and/or the following Change.org petition updates:

Prioritizing Public Infrastructure Spending

The bigger picture is the need for a regional watershed management plan that addresses sourcewater protection, sewage treatment and discharge, stormwater discharge, and business models for regional public water/sewer, that include Penn State University as a full participant, not exempt (as it is now) from many of the regulations and agreements currently binding other public entities such as the State College Borough Water Authority, the University Area Joint Authority, and the municipal governments of the Centre Region.

One piece of that bigger picture that’s playing out this summer is Centre Region Council of Governments General Forum review of a Beneficial Reuse Special Study under Act 537 (the state law governing sewage systems).

The special study – proposing to extend the existing beneficial reuse system to Mountainview Country Club and Tussey Mountain Ski Area – was presented to the General Forum at the June meeting, starting a 60-day public comment period that will conclude on August 26.

6.26.17 UAJA Draft Special Study Re Beneficial Reuse

I submitted a public comment, emphasizing my preference that public funds be expended on three higher community priorities before being spent to extend the beneficial reuse program, as follows:

  1. to establish strong regional sourcewater protection protocols that hold Penn State to the same standards as other local public entities;
  2. to establish a clear regional watershed management plan that holds Penn State to the same standards as other local public entities; and
  3. to analyze current (failing) business models so as develop new business models for public water and sewer systems that do not depend on constant population growth and constant intensification of land use.

7.29.17 KW Public Comment Re Beneficial Reuse Special Study

Readers interested in submitting public comment can email to Senior Planner Mark Boeckel – mboeckel@crcog.net.

Volumetric Billing

Meanwhile, for the last 13 years or so, Tom Songer II and other local developers have been asking UAJA’s board to revise the rate structure to a volumetric billing system.

This summer, the group launched a petition urging the COG General Forum to direct the UAJA to revise the rate structure (details available at the petition site).

Songer writes:

“…for more than 13 years my associates and I have tried unsuccessfully to get UAJA to bill all customers for sewer service based on water meter readings in the same manner that State College Borough has used for more than 40 years.

At this time, we are asking you to consider signing our online petition which can be found at: www.UAJAPetition.com

The purpose of the Petition is to try to get the Centre Region COG to mandate in the update to the ACT 537 Regional Sewer Plan that UAJA should bill all customers for sewer service based on water meter readings which will incentivize customers to conserve water and generate less sewage which will make our water and sewer systems more sustainable while lowering our carbon footprint…”

The issue will be discussed at the COG Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, August 22 at 12:15 PM and at the COG General Forum meeting at 7 PM on Monday, August 28, 2017 at the COG Building at 2643 Gateway Drive

Meanwhile, over in Ferguson Township…

Reporting on the Monday, August 7 supervisors meeting, Laura Dinnini wrote that “nearing midnight” Dininni responded to a report filed by Steve Jackson (the Ferguson Township liaison to the State College Borough Water Authority) on the topic of explosive blasting of the bedrock at the Penn State/Toll Brothers development site.

Dininni highlighted the contradiction between a recent SCBWA public statement that blasting had been eliminated from the construction plan, and the fact that in the approved land development plan, blasting is permitted. Although Dininni did not get support from her supervisor colleagues to submit a public letter to the SCBWA board highlighting the contradiction, Supervisor Peter Buckland agreed to reach out to SCBWA board members and executives privately to seek clarification.

SCBWA’s next public meeting is August 17 at 4 p.m. at 1201 West Branch Road.

Dininni also reported that she introduced a discussion about Penn State representation within the Centre Region Council of Governments structure.

Corporate Penn State, although not a municipality, has appointed (not elected) voting and non-voting members on several key committees, including the Centre Region Planning Commission, the COG Transportation and Land Use Committee, and the COG Parks Capital Committee.

Dininni’s supervisor colleagues supported her, voting to include the issue as an official Ferguson Township municipal comment on the 2018 COG Program Plan, and therefore subject to public discussion at the August 28 General Forum meeting.

In two other positive steps, Dininni introduced discussion on Penn State’s private ownership of Millbrook Marsh Nature Center (soon to be seeking significant public taxpayer funding) and on the need for the Centre Region Planning Agency to conduct annual assessments of the value of corporate Penn State’s tax-exempt landholdings within the region’s municipalities, to be used for future negotiations of the “fee-in-lieu” agreements.

Both of those measures also received support from Dininni’s colleagues.

For reference, according to State College Finance Department information, the assessed value of Penn State’s property within the Borough in 2015 was about $262.9 million.

If the property were taxable, the resulting 2015 real estate tax payment to the Borough would have been approximately $3.8 million.

However, because corporate Penn State is currently classified as a public nonprofit organization for tax purposes, the property is tax-exempt.

Instead, the University and the surrounding municipalities negotiate an annual “fee-in-lieu” of taxes. For State College, Penn State’s annual contribution to public coffers is about $600,000, giving the university a $3.2 million per year tax break. Negotiations are currently scheduled for every 20 years, with the next negotiation round not scheduled until roughly 2026.

Sometime I hope to find time to make a spreadsheet of the many, many ways the Janus of corporate Penn State – with its annual operating budget of about $5.7 billion – gains financially from its circumstance-dependent “public” and “private” statuses, internalizing profits and externalizing costs and hiding all the shell-gaming of revenue and expenses from the public thanks to the University’s exemption from the Right to Know Law.

The point being: the public subsidizes Penn State far beyond the $318 million in direct state appropriations anticipated for 2017-2018, with none of the oversight power that should accompany public funding for public institutions.

2016 PSU IRS Filings

PSU Audit KW Markup

The exploitation of public resources for private University gain is not unique to Penn State, of course. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an excellent report on the trend, When Universities Swallow Cities. It’s behind a pay wall, but worth a read if you can get hold of a copy.

Public patience is wearing thin.

 

 

Looking Ahead – Bailiwick News Year 2

As most readers probably know, the news business has changed a lot the last couple of decades and is still changing rapidly. It costs very little to distribute content online, but advertising revenue for many print and online news organizations is not enough to cover the labor costs of time-consuming investigative reporting, especially at the local level.

Bailiwick News (and the precursor blogs I’ve written since 2005) are part of an experiment in micro-journalism, as reporters and editors around the world try to figure out new business models that can sustain local civic reporting in the present and future.

The skills required for investigative reporting are very different from the skills required for marketing, and I’m the first to acknowledge that my marketing skills are painfully limited. So, it’s not too surprising to me that since launching last September, Bailiwick News has inspired a total of 19 paying reader-subscribers.

I appreciate that support tremendously: those dollars have helped pay for photocopies of paper newspapers for downtown State College distribution, Right-to-Know document copying fees, business insurance and other overhead costs.

And I feel a very deep sense of obligation to continue providing readers with in-depth, contextualized, data-supported reporting on crucial Centre County public issues.

I’m proud of the work I’ve done during my first year, and am now planning my second year of Bailiwick News publishing.

I’ll be making some changes to experiment some more.

The publishing year will again run from September to June, because that academic year schedule seems to work well. I’ll continue with my paid part-time job (15-20 hours per week since April), to bring in steady income supporting my family and Bailiwick News overhead costs.

This second year, I plan to work on three main series, including:

  1. further coverage of Centre County court corruption and the District Attorney transition,
  2. further coverage of Centre County watershed management planning and
  3. further coverage of State College area zoning and land use planning, the latter two in the context of Penn State enrollment-driven population growth and regional carrying capacities.

At this time, I’m doing research on other micropayment systems, through which general public readers would be required to pay about 25 cents per article to access and read my work. One example of this “iTunes for news” model is Blendle; other companies are beta testing in US markets. I’m skeptical that readers will pay on a per-issue basis, even if the information purchased isn’t available elsewhere for free. It’s just another business model I might try.

As I choose and put a new system in place, I’ll be closing the PayPal account.

I’ll also continue to print about 60 copies of each edition for free distribution from the two boxes in downtown State College.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Report – Water coalition meeting with Penn State executives, July 25, 2017

This report is based on information provided by Terry Melton, Kelli Hoover and Mark Huncik to Katherine Watt after the meeting.

Four Nittany Valley Water Coalition representatives met with five Penn State representatives on Tuesday, July 25, in Room 242 of the State College Borough Building, from noon to 1 p.m.

NVWC representatives included Kelli Hoover, Terry Melton, David Hughes and Mark Huncik.

Penn State representatives included Kurt Kissinger, Associate Vice President for Finance and Business; Zack Moore, Vice President for Government and Community Relations; Charima Young, Director of Local Government and Community Relations; Steve Watson, Office of Physical Plant, Director of Campus Planning and Design; and Rob Cooper, OPP, Director of Energy and Engineering.

Although NVWC had asked during a prior meeting for Penn State representatives to provide information on possible alternative sites for the Toll Brothers project, and the Penn State officials had verbally agreed to do so, they did not provide that information ahead of the July 25 meeting.

However, the NVWC representatives prepared thoroughly for the meeting, and presented a report (7.25.17 NVWC Report for PSU Execs) that assembled information on eight “University Planned District” parcels identified in the most-recent UPD District Plan, adopted by some but not all of the regional municipalities in Spring 1999. 1999 UPD District Plan

At the July 25 meeting, Penn State executives offered information on current uses at each site and answered questions about whether or not student housing is an allowable use. According to Hoover, in Penn State “lingo,” non-student housing means student housing not owned by the University.

The parcels identified by NVWC representatives include:

  • UPD 3 – 28 acres along College Avenue at/near old OW Houts buildings, south of west campus along to the corner of College Avenue and Blue Course Drive.
  • UPD 4 – 91 acres along College Avenue at/near old OW Houts buildings, south of west campus along to the corner of College Avenue and Blue Course Drive.
  • UPD 7 – 395 acres east of Overlook Heights, west of Fox Hollow Road, north of campus, south of I-99.
  • UPD 9 – 420 acres east and west of Porter Road near PSU sustainability facilities (MorningStar house, community gardens) and pig farm, north of Centre Furnace Mansion.
  • UPD 11 – 584 acres east of Overlook Heights, west of Fox Hollow Road, north of Campus, south of I-99.
  • UPD 12 – 26 acres along East College Avenue near the Lifelink building past Hampton Inn.
  • UPD 14 – 1,111 acres east of Fox Hollow Road, north of I-99, across from The Villages.
  • UPD 15 – 108 acres east of Fox Hollow Road, north of I-99, across from The Villages.

Penn State objections

According to Melton, Watson pointed out that rezoning would be needed for each of the proposed parcels

Kissinger stated that, because Penn State has a sales contract with Toll Brothers, Penn State executives can’t look like they’re trying to undermine the contract by proposing alternatives.

Kissinger repeatedly used the term “program” in relation to Toll Brothers proposed housing developments, and stressed uncertainty about whether parts of UPD would “fit” the Toll Brothers program, since some UPD areas have multi-use zoning (including non-residential or commercial uses along with housing).

Penn State executives expressed concern that neighbors in the areas around the alternatives might object to student housing in their neighborhoods, and also expressed concerns about environmental impacts on the Big Hollow water wells near UPD 7.

Moore expressed concern about preservation of natural settings (forested areas) in the parcels identified, particularly UPD 14, comparing removal of trees as contradictory to “preserving nature.”

Water coalition rebuttals

Nittany Valley Water Coalition representatives acknowledged that rezoning would be needed, and said they would support rezoning in an alternative site to promote sustainable, community-respecting development.

Water coalition members pointed out the hypocrisy of Penn State’s position on threats to University water wells and forests as contrasted with the University’s willingness to put the public Thomas and Harter water wells, Slab Cabin Run, and nearby farm fields and forest groves at risk.

Water coalition members noted that there is already student housing in most of the alternative neighborhoods.

Regarding the existing contract, NVWC representatives emphasized that Penn State’s role at this time is simply to identify parcels that the University would consider for a land swap.

Whether Toll Brothers executives accept the land swap offer – to foster positive community relations in the Centre Region – is up to Toll Brothers executives.

At end of meeting, NVWC shared the online PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources map, showing documented sinkholes and depressions in the Centre region, including multiple documented sinkholes in the Whitehall Road/Blue Course Drive property near the intermittent stream and swale.

Although the Penn State executives did not put anything in writing, they verbally agreed to examine the list prepared by NVWC and identify parcels that are feasible from Penn State’s perspective and parcels that are not feasible, including the feasibility of subsections of larger parcels. For example, if one portion of a 500+ acre parcel is not a practical choice, other sections of that same parcel may be workable.

Melton said Penn State executives agreed to forward the information by email to NVWC representatives by Friday, July 28, ahead of the scheduled August 2 trilateral meeting between Hoover, Hughes and Melton (representing the water coalition); Kissinger, Cooper and Young (representing Penn State) and Charles Elliott, Managing Director of Toll Brothers.

Melton said she anticipates Penn State will put forward at least two or three alternatives in their July 28 email, and commented of the July 25 meeting, “It went as well as could have been expected.”

Centre Daily Times reporter Sara Rafacz interviewed meeting participants afterwards, and interviewed Hughes on camera for a forthcoming CDT video report.

Updates on the Water, Farmland and Accountable Local Democracy Fight

Posted over at the Nittany Valley Water Coalition website:

July 10 – Updates

July 19 – Luxury Student Housing Should Be an Oxymoron – Link to a StateCollege.com editorial by Russell Frank

July 19 – Updates 

July 20 – Eviction Notice

July 20 – Penn State is escalating.

July 20 – Context for the Eviction

July 20 – Further context – a timeline of Penn State executives’ and trustees’ actions

  • August 25, 1999 – Corporate Penn State buys land from RK Mellon Foundation and Mark and Marcia Bookman (50-50 joint owners), each selling their stake, for $1 and $99,307 respectively – 8.25.99 Deed 18.25.99 Deed 2
  • November 7, 2003, Penn State Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz submits application to Ferguson Township seeking Township upzoning of the land from RA to R4, and incorporation into Regional Growth Boundary. 11.7.03 PSU-Sweetland Application to Ferguson Township for Upzoning RA to R4 with Deeds Attached
  • November 2003 to October 2004 – Numerous area municipalities and planning agencies recommend Ferguson Township deny Penn State’s upzoning application, to protect the water, farmland and regional growth boundary. Representative sample: 3.29.04 Centre Region Planning Agency to Ferguson Township Re Whitehall Road Zoning Change
  • June 14, 2004– Penn State Assistant Vice President for Finance and Business Dan Simienski submits $1,000 application check to Ferguson Township for rezoning review process. 6.14.04 PSU Rezoning Check Cover Letter D. Sieminski to M. Kunkle
  • September 7, 2004 – Ferguson Township supervisors approve the upzoning by 3-2. Steve Miller votes “No.” 9.7.04 Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors Minutes
  • February 25, 2008 – Penn State files “declaration of access easements” with Centre County Recorder of Deeds, citing subdivision plan. 2.25.08 PSU Easements Six Lot FT Subdivision
  • February 27, 2008 – Penn State’s Gary Schultz, as owner, files subdivision plat plan, approved by Ferguson Township Planning Commission on or about February 7, 2008 and by Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors on or about February 14, 2008 (signed by Board Chair Richard Mascolo, husband of Centre Region Parks Authority Board Chair Sue Mascolo) at Penn State’s request, clearly showing road access from Blue Course Drive to Shingletown Road across the watershed, and linking development of adjacent public park to development of student housing complex. 2007 PSU-Sweetland Engineering Six Lot Subdivision
  • December 29, 2011 – Penn State commissions production of glossy, full page marketing booklet to solicit bids at a meeting in Hershey, from developers, to construct student housing on land rezoned – at Penn State’s request – in 2004 and subdivided – at Penn State’s request – in 2008. 2011 Whitehall Road Investment Prospectus
  • April 24, 2012 – Penn State Senior Vice President for Finance and Business David Gray signs sales contract with Richard Keyser, Toll Brothers Vice President for Commercial Acquisitions and Development. 4.24.12 PSU-Toll Purchase and Sales Agreement
  • May 4, 2012 – Penn State Board of Trustees, led by Karen Peetz, President of Bank of New York Mellon, approves sales contract for $13.5 million. 5.4.12 PSU BOT Minutes (See page 10).
  • September 20, 2013 – Penn State Board of Trustees adds 5.5 acres to the planned sale, located outside the regional growth boundary and still zoned Rural Agricultural, to Toll Brothers, for the purpose of stormwater management basin construction. The minutes note that Karen Peetz is not present for vote, but in any case, the Board finds she has no conflict of interest under University bylaws, despite BNY Mellon’s Boston Company Asset Management being the seventh-largest investor in Toll Brothers. 9.20.13 PSU BOT Minutes (See page 11-12); 8.14.12 Toll Bros Peetz Reuters
  • July 7, 2017 – Penn State Senior Vice President for Finance and Business David Gray, in a CDT editorial, states: “the University is not involved in the proposed housing development.”

July 21 – Penn State’s pre-meeting letter (sent ahead of a scheduled meeting between PSU reps and NVWC reps, to be held July 25, and filled with breathtaking hypocrisy that apparently the author, Kurt Kissinger, either cannot see or does not believe will further reduce citizen’s increasingly low opinion of Penn State’s leadership.)