Echo Lake Resort and Campground near Coventry, N.Y., which made headlines earlier this week after four drug and alcohol arrests were made in its vicinity, has been operating illegally since May, according to a county health official. 

“I closed Echo Lake on paper, officially, on May 22, 2009,” said Marcas Flindt, Chenango County’s director of public health. The facility, however, ignored that closure and has been operating without the necessary permits ever since, according to The Evening Sun, Norwich, N.Y. 

Campgrounds must comply with the state’s sanitary code and meet guidelines for safe drinking water, campground operations, food preparation and vendors, Flindt explained. During an inspection of Echo Lake last year, numerous code violations of “basically all” of these areas were found, he said. 

According to the public health director, Echo Lake has been given every opportunity to bring their facility into compliance. They were issued a temporary permit in October and given six months to rectify the problems identified during the inspection. That permit expired on April 16, but that didn’t stop them from opening the campground for the season on May 1. 

“They have just chosen to open without a permit,” Flindt said. 

Echo Lake owner Ahmad Shaheed said he has been working to rectify the issues cited by the county, but that he needs more time to complete the costly work necessary. 

“I inherited this problem,” said Shaheed, who reported that issues with Echo Lake date back to the flood in 2006 and previous owner, Kalifa Sayed. 

Shaheed, a former captain with the New York City Department of Corrections, claims to have already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into both Echo Lake and Chenango Valley Ranch, another business he owns in Coventry. 

“I think I’m being victimized for trying to do something good,” Shaheed said.