Friends of the Shawangunks, along with their land trust, The Shawangunk Conservancy, are dedicated to protecting the Shawangunk Mountains of New York from adverse environmental impacts.
This noble mission remains unfulfilled as the agency acquires land through litigation and transfers it to the Mohonk Preserve. It is a shell corporation, set up as a transfer agent, controlled by The Mohonk Preserve. This is a violation of the trust placed by its donors. Specifically how you ask? read on...
Who They Are
The Shawangunk Conservancy is a shell organization of the Mohonk Preserve who gained non-profit status in 1989.
Almost all the land The Conservancy has acquired has been transferred to the Mohonk Preserve. Known also as The Friends of the Shawangunks, their quarterly publication, the Shawangunk Watch reports the transfers of land parcels out of their own care to the Mohonk Preserve. In the Summer 2013 edition, Keith Labudde describes suing someone in the Town of Gardiner for trying to put a driveway on easement property. In the same issue they celebrate 50 years as a "loose organization of conservationists," describing their history. They are tied to the Mohonk Mountain House through the marriage of Keith LaBudde to Pril Smiley, daughter of Keith Smiley (founder of the Mohonk Trust, aka the Mohonk Preserve).
Only 20.7 acres of land remain in the Conservancy's ownership and care. It is truly a shell transfer agency.
In 1994 they filed a lawsuit to steal 137 acres of ridge-top land, from Karen Pardini and Michael Fink, who purchased Smitty's Dude Ranch in 1987. The Conservancy wanted to create the Rock Hill Ridge Preserve and have the Mohonk Preserve take it over. This is the same year the Mohonk Preserve claims to have purchased 70+ acres of land from Gloria Finger resulting in Mohonk Preserve vs Pardini and Fink. The prior action is documented in Shawankgunk Conservancy vs Fink. Although the Shwangunk Conservancy was unsuccessful, the Mohonk Preserve managed to reverse, on appeal, a prior adverse 92 page decision with a few short paragraphs from the NYS Appealllate Division 3rd Department . Go figure? There are multiple articles written about this as well. See BY ANY MEANS (Woodstock Times), Lawsuit Defendants Allege Intimidation in Mohonk Land Disputes (Daily Freeman), and Buying Land, Crying Foul; Preservationists Accused Of Overzealous Tactics In Bid to Keep Land Wild (New York Times).
They and their affiliates have been involved in many lawsuits and foreclosures over the course of their existence.
Take action and sign the petition for NYS Attorney General to investigate Fink and Pardini's complaint against the Mohonk Preserve, Friends of the Shawangunks and the Shawangunk Conservancy.