MONTGOMERY — Two citizen activists and a former Town of Montgomery supervisor are accusing Village of Montgomery Mayor Steve Brescia of “silencing” and “bullying” them at a recent public meeting about Medline’s giant warehouse plan for the town.

Medline, a medical supply maker, has proposed the 1.3-million-square-foot, $111 million distribution center on a 118-acre site on a former portion of Aden Brook Farm on Route 416 in the Town of Montgomery.

The Montgomery Village Board held a June 4 meeting at the village's senior center at 36 Bridge St. to allow other locals a chance to voice concerns and ask questions of Medline officials.

The three women — Jessica Gocke; her mother, Debra Corr; and Susan Cockburn, the town’s former supervisor — held a press conference at Goshen attorney Michael Sussman’s offices on Wednesday.

The women accused Brescia of unlawfully ordering village police to escort Gocke and Cockburn out of the June 4 public meeting, while silencing Corr.

Gocke and Corr are members of Concerned Citizens for the Hudson Valley. The local resident group has questioned the potential environmental, traffic and quality of life consequences of various major development projects, including Medline’s Montgomery proposal and the future Legoland park in Goshen.

Sussman said he will soon file a federal lawsuit to uphold the three women's First Amendment rights.

In a phone interview on Wednesday, Brescia, who also serves as chairman of the Orange County Legislature, countered that everyone could speak at the June 4 meeting. But, he added, letting village residents speak first was the priority, and he stressed that he put out a public bulletin stating as much before the meeting.

Brescia said that Gocke, who lives in Crawford but resides in the Valley Central school district, and Cockburn, a Town of Montgomery resident, were asked to leave to prevent the meeting from devolving into a circus.

A video from the meeting appears to show Brescia talking over Gocke, Cockburn and Corr, and asking police to remove Gocke and Cockburn before each can ask a question during a public comment session.

Some crowd members booed and protested. Brescia allowed Corr to stay at the meeting, but the video also appears to show Brescia not letting Corr ask a question, as he tells Gocke, “You are not asking any questions, tonight, and neither is your mother.”

“I was singled out, discriminated against, robbed of my free speech and humiliated by being escorted out by police officers, despite not breaking any laws and not exhibiting disruptive behavior,” Gocke said in Sussman’s office Wednesday.

Gocke said that, provided Medline receives a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement and approval to build, she wanted ask about what, if any, protections the public would have from the company moving when its PILOT expires.

The company's PILOT with the Orange County Industrial Development Agency is expiring this year. And Medline is currently attempting to leave its 500,000-square-foot Wawayanda facility, while seeking a PILOT from the Town of Montgomery’s Industrial Development Agency.

Cockburn said she wanted to know if Medline was using the same attorney “who’d sued repeatedly to eradicate our town comprehensive plan.”

Corr, of Goshen, said she was trying to ask about the Wallkill River near the proposed warehouse being protected “because I live along the Otterkill, and I’ve seen what Legoland has done” with 28 state citations for polluting the creek.

During Wednesday's interview, Brescia apologized for “erring” in not reminding those attending the June 4 meeting that village residents were entitled to speak first. He said Medline spent two and a half hours at a meeting intended to last one hour, and he was simply maintaining order.

“If anyone is the bully, it's Susan Cockburn, Jess Gocke and Deb Corr,” Brescia said. “Debbie Corr had her hand up the whole time, and her daughter barged up to the front row to speak. Cockburn tried to create a circus-like atmosphere that was typical of her town board meetings when she was supervisor.”

John Cappello, a Medline lawyer from the Walden law firm of Jacobowitz and Gubits, said the company supports locals’ free speech rights and is committed to hearing and addressing all concerns and questions.

daxelrod@th-record.com