Richard Brummel created a broad citizen-movement, then originated and led a vigorous legal challenge against the corrupt Nassau County (Republican) and Town of North Hempstead (Democratic) political-machines’illegal action – blatantly sidestepping proper environmental procedures – destroying the core of a publicly-owned recreational forest. Judges refused to examine the process, instead manufacturing an issue of “legal standing” to sidestep the politically-sensitive case. Pursued (unsuccessfully) to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Richard Brummel identified key deficiencies in a voluminous environmental review, assembling aggrieved neighbors of the hated project to sue the largest developer on Long Island and the most entrenched Town government in Nassau County. He acted when the grassroots citizen group which led the opposition for 10 years inexplicably walked away after the highly-controversial project was approved. Brummel persevered when the “plaintiffs” were brow-beaten into settling the case – and intervened to take the case to appeal. The attempted intervention by Brummel – and another neighbor he recruited – led to bare-knuckle legal attacks on Brummel and a lawyer he allied with, which Brummel ultimately defeated by forcing the original judge to recuse himself, then successfully prevailing in a motion to dismiss the legal attack by motion for summary judgement.
Richard Brummel, persevering over three years, originated and brought to fruition a legal-theory to challenge a breeding-season hunting contest utilizing N.Y. state environmental-review law, thus empowering the hundreds of animals-lovers across the U.S. who had anguished over the activity without effective recourse – particularly after two major animal groups abandoned the issue after a single demonstration. Case
is pending (early 2018).
With no formal legal experience, in the mid-2010’s Richard Brummel pioneered the role of “citizen-litigator” on Long Island to vigorously and credibly battle real-estate developers and their local-government allies.
Brummel single-handedly “adopted” local “orphan” environmental issues – environmentally destructive real-estate development or misguided government action, and animal-welfare issues involving Canada geese and squirrels – where attorney fees would have been prohibitive, and/or local groups proved ineffective, legally inept or simply insufficiently militant to take the battles to court after local government acceded to local unions and real-estate interests (or other environmentally-hostile motivators) against the popular will of the public.
During a six-year period from 2012 through 2018 he originated novel legal tactics and strategies, obtained multiple Temporary Restraining Orders or consensual work-stoppages, while filing dozens of complex actions, special proceedings, and pleadings to protect trees, animals, and open-space.
A non-attorney with a background as a crusading journalist in New York City and elsewhere, as well as a public-policy advocate, and armed with a solid Yale education, Brummel’s efforts were validated even by appellate courts which refused to side with him but rejected his opponents’ repeated efforts to silence him with legal sanctions.
During this time Brummel holed up in his childhood home on Long Island and supported himself as a cook in restaurants and country clubs.
Brummel’s legal skills became so cutting that one judge was forced not only to recuse himself upon a scorching motion Brummel filed detailing the judge’s inability to rule impartially in the case, but the judge – The Hon. Justice George R. Peck (N.Y. Supreme Court, Nassau County) – even repudiated his prior finding that Brummel was ineligible to “intervene” in the case, after having sanctioned Brummel for trying to do so. So compelling were Brummel’s arguments that the case was thereafter dismissed, on Brummel’s motion, by the new judge assigned.