The last month has been a difficult one. I have not been able to deliver an email because I have been attempting to report on what is going on in the township but it is so convoluted and complicated, I have been struggling with how to deliver it to you, the reader, and create a report that is clear and understandable. This issue involves the relationship of open space and Open Space Committee, the purchasing of easements and township finances. Connected to it is the West Vincent Land Trust, French and Pickering Land Trust and certain persons in each organization.

I will start with a Board of Supervisors meeting that took place on February 21, 2017. The room was packed with people that were clearly called in. These were people that you will never see in any other township meeting. They were there for one thing. To pressure the Supervisors to give your tax money to their friend and resident Robert Casiato. Mr. Casiato purchased almost 100 acres of ground for 2.5 million dollars ($2,500,000) , or twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) per acre with some unidentified neighbors after forming a Limited Liability Company called Sixteen Years LLC. The property was allegedly purchased to protect the owners properties from encroaching development. The property was sold to Sixteen Years LLC by a developer named Woodstone Homes. Previous to Woodstone owning it, a developer named Cutler owned the property. Both abandoned their sub-division plans for this ground.

Robert Casiato came in front of the Board at this meeting along with Pam Brown of the French and Pickering Trust to ask the township for $275,200 of Open Space money. This is not all the money he is seeking. It is combined with other two sources of taxpayer dollars to be giving $475,000. One other donor is a private fund (The Philadelphia Foundation) and they are said to be donating $40,000. Total almost $800,000 for losses in value that occur when easing the land from sub-division. An non-Township reviewed appraisal was performed. Accordingly it “proves” the owners will lose tremendous amounts of value from their investment. Mr. Casiato says he needs the be compensated for that loss while claiming this is “altruistic”.

So why did people come from who knows where pack the Supervisors meeting in a mob mentality in an effort for pressure the Supervisors into making this payment? The job of the Supervisor, as explained by John Jacobs, is to be the stewards of the Township finances. There is only so much money and it needs to be spent wisely. Sadly, there were times during when the Supervisors were asking questions or making comments and they were booed by some in the crowd. The mob agenda was to give money, regardless of facts, figures or calculations. The opposing view from the mob was that there is money in the Open Space account, just give the man his money.

But here is the intent of Sixteen Years LLC..They want to sub-divide the property into 4 lots and resell the properties to recover their monies. I attached list what was claimed by Robert Casiato and supporters, followed by what the facts are. Some of their claims appear contradictory. They are. All of my information comes from the public meeting video. I have no other sources except the attached IRS related brochure. Watch the 2 hour public conversation. Here is the link to the videos.

Part 1: https://youtu.be/wgSeovJeLco?t=4086
Part 2: https://youtu.be/MKO5EdCFRiI

Nobody in this meeting ever mentions the tremendous Federal Tax incentive potentially realized by the owners of Sixteen Years LLC. Huge deductions from Federal income tax are available for people who put conservation easements on property. This property was a 2.5 million dollar acquisition, although Mr. Casiato claims to have another $400,000 in the property (never providing documentation) for a total of $2.9 million dollars. People that dabble in these kind of projects are not small wage earners and would clearly benefit from this Federal tax benefit. For example, the IRS allows a 50% deduction on earnings every year for 15 years. If Mr. Casiato makes $200,000/year, he may deduct $100,000 of his income from his taxes for up to 15 years ($1.5 million total) to compensate for his losses.  Why should the taxpayer shoulder a cash payout if the IRS is willing to give a credit? The Open Space funds can be used for other open space acquisitions. Was this route ever explored? Nobody knows because of the steamroller push of people that have no comprehension they are being manipulated by those with ulterior motives.It sure seems the pressure was intentionally turned up to force a split second decision that doesn't allow for review and confirmation of information supplied to the Township.

Mr. Casiato wants the taxpayers to pay him for his “losses” for not developing. Even Kate Damsgaard, developer of the Open Space policy (her claim in the video) states, “that in West Vincent, most likely $275,000 won't buy you one building lot”. Coming from a specialist such as Ms. Damsgaard goes a long way towards the proof that the 4 building lots will bring $750,000 each, yielding $3,000,000 , full compensation for the Sixteen Years LLC protection efforts with no money lost. Mr. Casiato claimed his commitment wasn't financial and further claims that this is “altruistic”. If that's true, why does he want tax payer money? Will he give the taxpayer funding back if there is money left over? It was stated in the meeting that this project has been going on and discussed in the Open Space committee since last Summer. Why didn't anyone, Pam Brown or Robert Casiato come to mind, notify the Township? Why didn't David Brown, a Supervisor on the Board of the Open Space Committee share this information with the other Supervisors in an executive session? I can't help but wonder why so much secrecy, especially when $275,000 of taxpayer money is in play.

Mr. Casiato bought this property and said that he had no intent to develop the property. While financing deadlines were pressing, there was nothing to keep this issue from waiting one year except an undocumented claim by Pam Brown that funding for Open Space is drying up. And if the almost $800,000 was indeed the number that Mr. Casiato had to have in order to make this commitment work, why in the end did he settle for a commitment from West Vincent Township of $200,000? Supervisors John Jacobs and Mike Schneider saved the taxpayers $75,000 in two hours while David Brown was clearly willing to give away the entire $275,000 at the beginning of the meeting. $75,000 is enough to purchase 3 Transferrable Development Rights, roughly 9 acres that could be protected. Is it any wonder how West Vincent Township is running in the black after years of overspending? It isn't because of David Brown or the short-sightedness of a mob mentality.

To see 7 claims made by Robert Casiato and others debunked, see the attachment.  Also attached is the tax incentive brochure explaining how it might be possible for Mr Casiato to deduct $1.5 million income from his taxes.

Best Wishes.

To see my previous mailings just Google chickenman west vincent.  As usual, if you want to be on or off my list, or have some comments or suggestions, or know someone who would like to be on the list, please let me know.  Just  write to chestercountynews@gmail.com  Feel free to forward this email on to anyone you think might be interested.