I serve as a member of Connecticut’s Historic Preservation Council (HPC). We are charged with “preventing the unreasonable destruction of properties listed on, or under consideration for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places.” Under Connecticut’s Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) we may refer the case of a threatened property to the Attorney General
and ask for an injunction.
The University of Connecticut proposes to demolish 9 properties on their Storrs campus that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This did not come to our Council because a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed “behind closed doors” between the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and UConn allowing the destruction of the buildings with three weak mitigation requirements. We learned of the demolition plans by happenstance when the state historian, who also serves on our Council, brought it to our attention in June.
Since then I have launched a grassroots campaign to urge SHPO to follow protocol in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) to potentially save the buildings. The Connecticut Trust is now also involved. However, because the approval was so political in nature SHPO is not willing to open the case – even with an outpouring of popular support (650 signatories to a petition, letters and e-mails to SHPO, and over 1,200 “friends” of our facebook page – “Save UConn’s Faculty Row” https://www.facebook.com/uconnfacultyrow/).
Obviously SHPO, UConn, the Chairman of the HPC, and likely the Governor’s Office dislike this publicity. They call the page “negative” and “filled with misinformation.” Most of it is comprised of newspaper articles, television footage and letters to the editor from various concerned citizens (not me). I have written a few posts that contain my opinion of the situation and give information and documentation. I do not identify myself on the site – I post as “Save Faculty Row.”
When the webpage was brought up at our last HPC meeting I did take responsibility for establishing it and invited anyone who had corrections to the information presented to post them.
I would like to pay an attorney to read the information I have posted on the Save UConn’s Faculty Row Facebook Page and give an opinion:
1) Am I within my rights to create and maintain this page (since I serve on the HPC)
2) Is anything I have written considered libelous
I realize that this project is beyond the scope of a simple question and will cost more accordingly. I would like to have a legal opinion in hand at our next HPC meeting when the Facebook page is once again on the agenda.
Thank you –
JA: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Connecticut - but this isn't estate law.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No thanks