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Antrim officials have gone too far

To all appearances, the Antrim selectmen are in bed with Antrim Wind Energy, LLC.

On May 13, a “public hearing” on whether Antrim should accept $40,000 to mitigate the visual impact to the town-owned Gregg Lake Beach resulted in a long-time resident being escorted from the room by Antrim Police for simply asking for a point of order. An unethical, if not illegal, suppression of public input.

During the same hearing, the Antrim selectmen admitted that the letter accepting the $40,000 would be used to bolster AWE’s argument to have the NH Site Evaluation Committee rehear the case. As readers know, AWE’s certificate was denied by the NH SEC, to which the selectmen gave away jurisdiction in 2011.

Following the public hearing session at the May 13 meeting – and without public input – Antrim selectmen voted to petition the NH SEC to rehear AWE’s case, submitting a document entitled, “Town Of Antrim’s Motion For Rehearing And/Or Reconsideration.” For the municipality – not just the applicant – to request a rehearing was strange enough. Now it appears that the document may even have been prepared by Susan Geiger of Orr & Reno, Antrim Wind Energy’s lead attorney in the SEC case. It’s as if the Antrim Selectmen are lobbying on behalf of a private enterprise.

But wait, there’s more. A decision is also pending in another court case on whether the Antrim Selectmen violated 91-A rules governing open meetings by having private meetings with Antrim Wind Energy personnel. There is significant evidence they did.

Our public officials are allowed to have an opinion. They are also allowed to negotiate on behalf of the town.

This recent abuse of power, however, rises to a whole new level: The appearance of impropriety.

Brian Beihl