In the belly of the beast

Today Bill Lofquist and I spent two hours poring over the “client’s file” at the offices of Underberg and Kessler, the attorneys for the Town of Geneseo. UK is located on the third floor of the new world headquarters of Bausch and Lomb in downtown Rochester.

The client in question, of course, is Newman Development, and the file was supposed to be everything that the town attorneys had concerning the Geneseo Town Center application that was not exempt from disclosure. Our visit there was in response to a FOIL request filed by Bill Lofquist earlier this year.

That request grew out of the statement made by Newman attorney Ron Hull during our Article 78 lawsuit that he had searched the “client’s file” and could not find the correspondence that PDDG was seeking. When Bill subsequently FOILed the “client’s file” he was originally told that the request was too vague and they didn’t know what we were asking for.

After Bill threatened to take more forceful action, they finally relented and let us look at the file. We were ushered into a small conference room where we found a stack of large folders on the table. We were left alone with the material and never saw any of the familiar faces of the attorneys such as Ron, Jim Coniglio or Helen Zamboni, who have been active in this matter.

Out of the whole stack of papers, which probably would have been five feet high if we had stacked them all up, we asked for copies of about 60 pages. Needless to say, we did not find the infamous missing documents, or much that appeared to be new, but I will let Dr. Lofquist analyze that in a future column.

Although the headquarters is billed as a “neighborhood skyscraper” and is graced by lots of modern art, including a 40 ton, 60 foot high metal sculpture by Albert Paley out front titled “Genesee Passage,” I found the whole atmosphere sterile and oppressive. I guess it’s just not my kind of neighborhood.

If they had let us pore over the network computer files that would  probably have been much more fun, and more rewarding!

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