The community group Save Our Rand Estate has been reprimanded for violating confidentiality rules set out by the Conservation Review Board during settlement proceedings in a dispute with developer Benny Marotta.
Members of SORE met with representatives of Solmar Development Corp. for a visit to the Rand Estate on March 9, during which photos were taken of the interior of the main Rand Estate building. One photo showed the interior had been stripped down to the studs.
SORE subsequently posted at least one picture online and shared it via an email blast to subscribers.
Publicizing the photos was a breach of agreed-to confidentiality provisions and might have compromised the entire settlement process, the review board stated in a ruling.
The board said, “SORE’s actions could also lead parties to doubt SORE’s intention to work in good faith in reaching a settlement. Sending an e-blast which includes pictures of the subject properties in dispute in this proceeding while the parties are in active settlement discussions has the real potential of disrupting the chance to reach a settlement.”
SORE was ordered to remove the pictures from its website, to ask anyone who received the email to delete it and to post a notice on its website stating that it had violated the conservation board's confidentiality rules.
In its email blast on March 19, SORE said its heritage experts “inspected the Rand Estate last week and were shocked and dismayed to discover that virtually the entire interior of the Rand House has been demolished.”
In its ruling, the review board said it recognizes “the seriousness of this breach and is concerned that the integrity of the process going forward may be compromised.”