Formal comment from Keystone ReLeaf attorney Seth R. Tipton on the dismissal of the case:
While Keystone ReLeaf LLC respects the decision of the Commonwealth Court, it is obviously disappointed in the ruling. At the time Keystone ReLeaf LLC filed its action in the Commonwealth Court, it was prejudiced by a lack of information resulting from the absolute secrecy that the Department of Health maintained about the scoring process.
During the last two weeks, Keystone ReLeaf LLC has participated in its administrative appeal before a hearing officer in Harrisburg. In just two days of testimony, Keystone ReLeaf LLC has learned disturbing facts that support the Commonwealth Court’s acknowledgement of ‘troubling allegations regarding the permitting process.’
For example, 100 points of the entire score (10% of the overall score) for every application in the Commonwealth was left to a single employee’s absolute discretion, with no review. In other testimony, a Commonwealth employee admitted to creating scoring criteria that contravened legislative requirements. Moreover, the schedule adopted by the Department of Health was untenable, and required the scoring committee members to read, evaluate and score thousands of pages every week for almost three months straight, in some cases while continuing to handle existing job duties. The problems inherent in this unrealistic schedule were compounded by a lack of training for scorers, which training was limited to a single, two-day presentation conducted after all applications were received.
Given these astounding revelations learned of by Keystone ReLeaf LLC almost a year after permits were awarded, Keystone ReLeaf LLC will press forward with its administrative appeals. Keystone ReLeaf LLC remains confident in the merits of those appeals, and may be before the Commonwealth Court again with the benefit of the transcripts of this shocking testimony.
Seth R Tipton
Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Cappelli LLC
60 West Broad St
Bethlehem PA 18018