By Gwendolyn Craig
They didn’t listen to the Adirondack Park Agency. Now their case is in the state attorney general’s hands.
Owners of The Brampton, a vacation destination in the Adirondacks along the Hudson River, were supposed to pay a fine of $87,600 by March 6, halt all operations and stop advertising.
They have not paid the fine, and APA Board Member Art Lussi said Thursday that the agency was seeking help from the state Attorney General’s Office.
The APA handed down the enforcement order on Feb. 28 after an approximately three-year saga involving a number of non-permitted structures and a septic system too close to a shallow drinking water source.
Owner James John McDonald and real estate partner Jeffrey Lee had appeared before the APA board during an enforcement hearing on Feb. 13. McDonald apologized for his ignorance on the rules and regulations, while Lee highlighted a number of actions they were taking to remedy the situation at their Thurman retreat.
The Brampton had been well-advertised online, focused on hosting yoga retreats, weddings, corporate retreats and vacations for New York City residents. The property earned a “super-host” status on Airbnb, the vacation rental online platform, and Outside magazine had highlighted it in an online article for places to stay.
But none of the structures on the property were properly permitted, leading to a number of violations to the Adirondack Park Act and the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System Act. The property was also in violation of state Department of Health standards concerning the water and wastewater systems.
Two people, who claimed they had reservations at The Brampton, contacted Adirondack Explorer on March 11 and 12, to inquire about the APA case. Their reservations had not been canceled, despite the order.
Airbnb removed the property from its online platform after learning of the violations. The Brampton’s personal website appeared to be down on Thursday.
According to the APA’s order, McDonald and Lee will now be on the hook for a $438,000 fine, since they didn’t pay the reduced amount by March 6.
Worth Gretter says
Wow! I think if I had a chance to pay a reduced fine – 20% by my math – I would at least make a down payment, or negotiate a payment plan, or something. Now it has gone up 5-fold! These guys must be betting they will somehow wiggle off the hook. Hope they have a good lawyer!