The first letter was sent to Yvonne Taylor, speech therapist and volunteer environmental activist hours before she was to speak in front of a large crowd at the DEC Regional Headquarters in Avon, NY on June 5th. “The letter appeared to convey that Greenidge was watching my every move as it detailed the dates that I had spoken out and cited direct quotes from my public statements,” said Taylor.
The other two letters arrived in Buddington and Taylor’s inboxes on October 7th, just 6 days prior to a pivotal NYS Department of Environmental Conservation hearing on Greenidge’s Title V Air Permit Renewal, where the two had registered to testify. Both of the letters signed by the CEO conclude with threats of legal action against Buddington and Taylor if they continue to speak out.
These kinds of letters are not a new tactic. It is an example of the threat of a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or SLAPP suit, often filed strategically by a corporation against a group or individual - with the intent of having a chilling effect on an individual’s future public engagement.
Buddington and Taylor have chosen not to be silent and will continue to exercise their first amendment rights to free speech. They have retained the counsel of Philip Gitlen of Whiteman, Osterman and Hannah, who sent a response letter to Mr. Irwin last week.
Here is a clip that aired Wednesday evening on Spectrum News 1.