Federal judge dismisses Slate Ridge owner's lawsuit against town
A federal judge has dismissed a case brought by the owner of a military-style training facility in West Pawlet.
Daniel Banyai opened the Slate Ridge facility in 2017. Soon after, Pawlet town officials took him to court saying he didn’t have the proper permits.
In one of the latest twists in the case, Banyai filed suit against the town, a judge and unnamed individuals, arguing they violated his constitutional rights. The case landed in federal court, where a judge dismissed it Monday.
"The federal court said, 'Hey, we're not a zoning board of appeal,’ which is effectively what that amounted to was trying to attack state court proceedings through the federal court, which is not typically allowed," said Merrill Bent, Pawlet's attorney.
Bent said until the town is allowed to inspect Banyai’s property, they can’t verify recent claims he made that he has torn down unpermitted structures. And even if he is now in compliance, she says he’s too late to have court-imposed fines of more than $100,000 expunged.
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