A silent partner in a proposed development along Sanders Ferry Road has been charged with harassment and stalking for allegedly sending threatening emails to Mayor Jamie Clary who has said he opposes the project.
Daniel Caleca, 27, was charged by Hendersonville police on May 27, according to a police affidavit filed in Sumner County General Sessions Court.
Caleca is a silent partner with New Jersey developer Greg Lutfey, Lutfey confirmed on Tuesday. Lutfey owns 216 Sanders Ferry Road and 248 Sanders Ferry Road, the former location of Sanders Ferry Pizza and Pub.
Lutfey and his representatives appeared before the Hendersonville Planning Commission on Tuesday requesting to amend the city’s Land Use and Transportation Plan as well as to rezone 6.4 acres at 216 Sanders Ferry Road in order to build a 299-unit, 55 and up age-restricted community.
The land is currently zoned SR-1, and allows for an assisted living facility as a conditional use.
Nearly two dozen residents spoke in opposition to the project, citing concerns with traffic congestion, roads and infrastructure in the area. The city’s planning department said it received 63 emails urging them to recommend denial of the project and four emails in favor of it.
Lutfey is proposing to build two seven-story buildings that would offer both for-sale and rental units. The proposal is asking for several variances, or exceptions to the city’s requirements, including requests to exceed the city’s height requirements on buildings, and the city’s density requirements.
The proposal also offers between $4 to $5 million in infrastructure improvements to Sanders Ferry Road as well as improvements to Mallard Point Park and the Sanders Ferry greenway. The latter is a Tennessee Department of Transportation project that has been in the works for several years.
After planning commission members asked specific questions about the requested variances and proposed road improvements, Lutfey’s local representative, attorney Marty Cook, asked that commissioners defer the project for 30 days in order to “tighten up the plan.”
Commissioners voted unanimously to defer the zoning request for 30 days. The planning commission only makes a recommendation to the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen, who will ultimately approve or deny the rezoning request.
When asked after the meeting what Caleca’s involvement with the project was, Lutfey said Caleca was a silent partner and family friend who brought the idea for improving the area to Lutfey.
“He is someone we’re trying to help out,” he said. “He’s a disabled vet who is trying to make something of himself.”
Lutfey said local police notified him last week and asked about Caleca’s whereabouts, but he was unaware he’d been charged with a crime.
“He’s acting on his own accord,” said Lutfey.
According to the police affidavit, Caleca sent Clary 24 emails within a two-and-a-half-hour period on May 23.
“The content of the emails included the writer’s disgust with the victim’s opposition to development on the Sanders Ferry peninsula and also included threats,” wrote Sgt. Christopher Gagnon. “The threats consisted of legal action, disclosure of politically condemning information, and what appears to be physical threats of violence.”
Gagnon said he spoke with Caleca on May 26 regarding the emails and told him not to contact Clary again.
On May 27, Clary gave Gagnon another email he’d received from Caleca that morning.
“The email was confrontational and included a YouTube link titled, ‘Guns Don’t Kill People, I Kill People – Happy Gilmore,’” Gagnon wrote in the affidavit. “The content again suggested physical violence.”
“I don’t go down.
We both go down.
Don’t ever forget that fool.
What you don’t know can sink your ship.
This better be the last [expletive] time I deal with you Jamie,” read one email obtained by the Hendersonville Standard.
Gagnon requested a bond on the charges, writing Caleca continued his actions after being told to refrain from contact.
The fact that Caleca doesn’t currently have an address in Tennessee and has said that he is staying in New Jersey suggests that his appearance in court once warrants are served is unlikely, the officer added.
HPD Commander Lawrence Daniel confirmed on Tuesday that police have issued warrants for Caleca’s arrest.
“We don’t believe he’s in the area,” he said.