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Apr 20, 2012 5:51 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Around East Hampton Town Hall: Town Clerk Rejects Ronjo Petition

Apr 24, 2012 5:55 PM

A group of East Hampton Town residents plans to sue over Town Clerk Fred Overton’s recent rejection of a petition with more than 600 signatures calling for a referendum on the sale of a town-owned alleyway to the owners of the former Ronjo Motel in Montauk.

Jeanne Frankl, the chairwoman of the East Hampton Democratic Committee, said members of the committee are among the complainants in the suit that will be filed against the Town Board and Mr. Overton. That document was expected to be filed in New York State Supreme Court by the end of the day on Tuesday.

Ms. Frankl did not provide a copy of the lawsuit on Tuesday afternoon, but she said she, Vice Chairwoman Betty Mazur, committee member Mary I. Miller, Fred Nagel of Springs, East Hampton Independence Party Chairwoman Elaine Jones, and former town supervisor candidate Zachary Cohen are among the complainants.

“The people who signed the petition for permissive referendum are entitled to have us follow through on that,” Ms. Frankl said. “What they were asking for was either the resolution of sale be repealed or rescinded or put up to a referendum, and not be completed unless it was approved by the voters. And invalidating the petition wrongfully and without authority, as we will prove, Mr. Overton is in a sense trampling on their rights and rejecting their petition, so that’s really what it’s about.”

Mr. Overton told the Town Board last Thursday, April 19, that the petition failed to 
contain “specific language required both by statute and the form promulgated by the 
New York State Board of Elections.”

He went on to list a number of deficiencies with the document: the 47 pages of signatures failed to include the words “that my present place of residence is truly stated opposite my signature hereto …”; 170 signatures failed to have complete addresses; three sheets containing a total of 42 signatures did not have an address for the witness; 16 signatures or printed names were unreadable; 40 signers were not registered to vote; and one person signed the petition that they also witnessed.

Mr. Overton said he made the decision that the petition was “invalid as filed” based on carefully examining case law and consulting with the town attorney’s department. He said “hours and hours” were spent looking through town documents and a list of the town’s registered voters. “It’s been a long, arduous task,” Mr. Overton said.

The East Hampton Democratic Committee organized the petition after the Town Board’s Republican majority approved a resolution that authorized a sale of the 20-foot-wide alleyway to owners Chris Jones and Larry Siedlick for $35,000 last month. Democratic board members Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc voted against it. Political sparks flew when Supervisor Bill Wilkinson acknowledged that the price was “plucked out of the air.”

Last week, the Town Board reversed course and 
unanimously approved a 
resolution to commission an independent appraisal of the alleyway.

Still, some were not satisfied. Ms. Mazur called the resolution for an appraisal “window dressing after the fact.” She said the Town Board should rescind the original sale resolution and use the new appraisal as a starting point. “A concern for saving face seems to be getting in the way of responsible government,” she said.

Fee Increases Disputed

Town Board members were divided on resolutions to increase beach parking and sailing program fees.

Mr. Van Scoyoc sponsored a resolution to increase the fee for a two-week session at the town’s sailing program by $40, to $200. The increase is needed, he said, to pay for additional sailboats for the program. He also sponsored a resolution to increase the Atlantic Avenue Beach beach parking fee by $5, to $20, and to eliminate the fee for parking at Kirk Park. The idea behind that is to help mitigate an overflow of parking in Montauk’s business district.

Both resolutions were approved, with Mr. Van Scoyoc, Ms. Overby and Mr. Stanzione voting in favor of them. Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley opposed the measures.

Ms. Quigley pointed out that the board didn’t discuss the measures at a work session. Mr. Wilkinson said any increase in beach parking fees is a “red flag” for the community. Mr. Van Scoyoc said he tried to bring it up for discussion and also noted that the fee increase for the sailing program is only a burden to those who use the program.

The increase in the sailing program is estimated to bring in an additional $3,080 in revenue, according to the resolution. The Atlantic Avenue Beach parking fee increase will bring in about an estimated additional $11,175, the resolution states.

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So after reading quotes from jean frankl banging on about "process" for the past 5 weeks.....the "mistress of process" herself couldn't execute a simple petition.... Umm.. Is it any wonder why you are not in government? suggest she take her process, her "phony appraisal" that never got submitted to anyone other than her own "virtual reality political wonderland" and reflect on a few monumental blunders, every step of the way. 1.Stop your little warriors interfering in government and rather ...try ...more
By Andy P (19), Montauk on Apr 20, 12 7:24 PM
The petition is moot now that Wilkinson has acceded to demands that he obtain an appraisal.

Its enduring effect, however, is to inform Wilkinson et al. that the public won't tolerate attempts to rule by fiat.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 20, 12 10:15 PM
2 members liked this comment
What Wilkinson did was agree to have an unbiased appraisal done that will result in great embarrassment for the Dems. It actually shows he is willing to stand by his conviction. The Dems actually hemmed and hawed at the unbiased appraisal that they fear will expose their bogus appraisal. Wilkinson has already exposed Dem hypocrisy by exposing the fact the Dems did not demand an appraisal of alley way property when they had control of the town board and a piece of the same alley was sold to ...more
By hohum123 (91), springs on Apr 21, 12 5:11 PM
2 members liked this comment
Don't disagree, and the enduring effect on overby and the democratic party is that people see them for what they are. Wilkinson is unlikely to run again, however overby and van S will, and the people of Montauk will remember being used as a pawn- that's why it was a foolish move by them. It will backfire, and already is. Think of all the hours that went into collecting those names.. And all for nothing, because they were not clever enough to figure out the basics of how to get a petition. Frankl ...more
By Andy P (19), Montauk on Apr 21, 12 7:51 AM
2 members liked this comment
Frankl and the Dems should be embarrassed as heck. She is a lawyer, other Dems who were involved with the petition are lawyers and they could not get it right. 40 signers were not even registered voters but yet the names were submitted as valid in the eyes of the Dems - that is outrageous but typical of how East Hampton Dems do business - sloppy, unprofessional and for ALL the wrong reasons, . When you add the fact that only about 60 people from Montauk signed the Dem petition and 150 Montaukers ...more
By hohum123 (91), springs on Apr 21, 12 4:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
to hohum123:

You continue to overlook the PRINCIPLE that has been upheld, to wit, an accountable democratic government does not permit its functionaries to rule by capricious fiat, however common that may be in corporate America. After a ridiculous delay, Wilkinson has finally yielded to the increasing public outcry and suffered his ego to be subordinated to reason. If a fire gets big enough, even a blind person will feel the heat eventually even if he never sees the light.

The ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 22, 12 12:44 PM
HHSize is getting a little touchy because he knows as much as he tries, he cannot rationalize, justify or explain away the politically motivated stunt perpetrated on the people of East Hampton, and Montauk in particular, by the Democrat Party.

And as far as calling Wilkinson an ignorant autocrat let me say that based on HHS' 1135 postings, Wilkinson's IQ is probably at least 40 to 50 points higher than the High Hat's; and as far as a common sense comparison, well quite frankly HHS has ...more
By hohum123 (91), springs on Apr 22, 12 1:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
to hohum123:

Ignorance is not synonymous with stupidity. Wilkinson may be the genius that you claim him to be and still be ignorant of the data necessary to make an informed appraisal of the Ronjo alleyway. Sorry that you misunderstood.

It is the usual members of the East Hampton Republican Tag Team (plus a few probationary applicants) who have flooded these threads with accusations that this is all a Democratic plot to discredit Wilkinson. The fact is that Wilkinson's autocratic ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 22, 12 3:08 PM
There is nothing funny about how the Ronjo situation has been used and abused by the Dems for pure political-partisan purposes. Playing political games with serious issues is bad government - and the people in Montauk know it and will remember it.

AND there is NO requirement for an appraisal.

Please cite the section of Town Law, General Municipal Law or Local Finance Law that says an appraisal is required. I believe what you will find is verbiage that says something to the ...more
By hohum123 (91), springs on Apr 22, 12 5:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
I checked, HHS, Chris Jones is NOT a "Republican party member". He can't even vote here and has not contributed to the Republican party. You are so off the mark it's a little (only a little) dangerous because people may take what you say seriously ... you have been asked again and again where an appraisal is legally mandated in this case but have no answer. It is YOUR unsubstantiated "polical" and "psychiological" assertions, rumors, innuendo and ad hominem attacks against those Republican in ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Apr 23, 12 5:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
to Board Watcher:

Larry Siedlick, Chris Jones' partner is the Ronjo venture, is identified in The Independent as being a "Republican contributor".

The only legal requirement is that public property not be gifted. Were there a consensus as to the value of the Ronjo alleyway, an objective appraisal might be unnecessary. However, with two estimates of $$22K and $$184K respectively, that was obviously NOT the case. It is, moreover, the EH Republican Tag Team alone that has raised ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 24, 12 3:37 AM
Oh. My. Goodness. Can't wait! We don't know if you're a "good neighbor" or not HHS ... but I wonder where you were when Democrat contributors (major contributors!) "gave" us the new town hall for their own benefit and to the financial detriment of us all, and paid millions of dollars to a Dem "contributor" for a useless island. Millions squandered at "our" expense. Millions.... not a "suggested" hundred thousand as a political ploy ... millions. I am not on the Republican, Democrat, or Independance ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Apr 24, 12 10:08 AM
1 member liked this comment
to Board Watcher:

Thank you for your response. I could have not have hoped for a more apt exemplar of EH Republican Tag Team s.o.p.: utterly irrelevant to the topic; replete with unsubstantiated allegations; and capped with a soupçon of ad hominem denigration.

By the way, I DID refute your assertion that the Ronjo developers had no Republican Party connection. Did you overlook that? I thought that you might like to reply ON POINT.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 24, 12 10:50 AM
My point, HHS, is that hundreds of people and businesses from EH and other places contribute to the Republican, Democrat and Independence committees, and other PACS, such as the Conservators, and organizations which are "political", such as CCOM, the Group for the South Fork, etc. etc., which actually HIRE people to "spread their word". Under your theory, everyone who goes to a fundraiser or contributes to a worthy cause would be somehow "connected" and obtaining "favors" left and right ... so ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Apr 26, 12 12:01 PM
to Board Watcher:

More straw men. The "connected" are those with an affiliation to the party in power. Party members and party contributors are two such affiliations. Those organizations that you mention in an attempt to muddy the waters (e.g. The Group for the South Fork) obviously do not fall within that definition.

As a connected Republican, any deals between the Town and Larry Siedlick should be scrutinized. The same caution should be employed when the Democrats are in ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 26, 12 12:40 PM
I suggest, HHS - if you REALLY want to "follow the money" - you see who is contributing to the "straw men" that you accuse me of "creating". The Conservator PAC is real, the Group for the South Fork is real, and they have real contributors who have influnece and agendas that promote and pay for "elected officials", and who line their own pockets in these "muddy waters". Your problem is you don't know the pool, pond or ocean in which you claim to swim. I dare you to truly follow the Alec Baldwin ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Apr 27, 12 8:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
to Board Watcher:

Straw men redux. The Conservator PAC and the Group for the South Fork may spend money influencing elected officials. What on earth does their behavior have to do with the propriety of Wilkinson's selling public property to Ronjo without an appraisal?

I invite you again to respond ON POINT.

Finally, how long will you continue in your habitual discourtesy before you realize that it only emphasizes the puerility of your comments?
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on May 1, 12 9:22 AM
Although the Democrats may have organized the permissive referendum drive on the alleyway, it is the broad support from Democrats, Republicans and Independents that is important here. The referendum is the most pure form of Democracy. It puts our representative government on notice and provides for a true vote of the people on a single issue. Thankfully, lawyers are not present when voters sign the petitions. Mistakes can and were made, but Wilkinson is now on notice that he is not above his ...more
By ehranter (5), East Hampton on Apr 22, 12 3:58 PM
Argue all you want but the real and important losers are the people and businesses in Montauk and ultimately all East Hampton taxpayers. For purely political reasons, the Democrats have chosen to make Wilkinson's attempt at humor an issue. They couldn't care less about the taxpayers and citizens of East Hampton. Embarrass Bill however much of your money it takes. They put more effort into getting signatures on this bogus referendum than they did in trying to stop the last administration from ...more
By Carole Campolo (46), East Hampton on Apr 22, 12 9:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
to Carole Campolo:

"Democrats hate the free market and small businesses."
Irrational rants by certain EH Republicans (examples supra) are same o' same o' but this is the first that is literally mad.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 23, 12 11:50 AM
You don't have to refer to me as "certain EH Republicans," highhatsize since I have the guts to post under my own name. So, rather than dismiss my claim through personal attack by calling me "mad" try to engage at least in some intellectual discussion. And for an attempt at real discussion and honesty, why don't you come out of hiding?
By Carole Campolo (46), East Hampton on Apr 23, 12 12:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
to Carole Campolo:

Actually, I was not referring to you alone when I referenced "certain EH Republicans", as you should have known had you noted the parenthetical "example[s] supra" that succeeded that phrase.

As for madness, some perceptions are so outré that they cross the boundary of sanity. One such would be, "Democrats hate the free market and small business". "Republicans hate the poor", would be its twin. If one is interested in dialectic, one avoids those hopeless ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 23, 12 2:10 PM
2 members liked this comment
HHS represents the finest qualities of Freedom of Speech, informed judgment, and intelligent replies.

Those unfamiliar with our precious Constitution may not appreciate his wish to remain anonymous.

Well done, Sir.

PS -- This reply is only about the QUALITY of the discussion! If you do not appreciate this, please demonstrate your lack of understanding.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 23, 12 4:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
"Free market"?

No such thing. Never has been, never will be. It was regulated when it began over 200 years ago, and has only made economic conditions worse the more it has been "de-regulated".

I challenge Carole to read Griftopia unabridged, COVER TO COVER, and get back to us on what she thinks the "free market" is. 'Cause it sure as Hades ain't what you illusorily believe it to be.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 23, 12 4:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Never forget that these Democrat fools stood by like mutes while Bill "I am a crook" McGintie drove EHT into the ground. These same stalwarts of good government where no where to be found as the debt and mismanagement spiraled out of control.
By MickNY (43), East Hampton on Apr 23, 12 2:25 PM
Highhatsize. LOL. Thanks for the laugh. C.
By Carole Campolo (46), East Hampton on Apr 23, 12 4:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 23, 12 4:56 PM
Haven't seen so many hacks in one place since I was in NYC.

Truth is that it took 3 weeks of cajoling and pleading by Repubs to get Wilkie to agree to an independent appraisal. Does anyone really believe that a public official, particularly one who brands himself a businessman, should sell public property at a priced plucked out of the air? Even Carole Campolo can't argue that...right?

By harbor (415), East Hampton on Apr 23, 12 9:06 PM
Someone comes up to buy your car.... It has a for sale sign on it, no price. You think it's worth maybe $500 to $1500 bucks... It has no title, you know that you may not own it legally. The lady offers you $35,000...... Do You take the offer or do you go get a carfax? You go to Kelly blue book for a valuation, Or do you just think, "this is a good deal, I don't need anyone to confirm it." You ask your attorney, he tells you the previous 20 sales had no valuation......Seriously, you elect an intelligent ...more
By Andy P (19), Montauk on Apr 23, 12 9:43 PM
Bill Wilkinson imagined as a "used car salesman?" Now that's an interesting metaphor. David Buda
By davbud (127), east hampton on Apr 24, 12 10:07 AM
Andy..if it's my car I would agree with you... But if it's someone else's car I'd make sure I'm getting at least market price by checking Kelly Blue Book. One can be intelligent and make stupid decisions.. Wilkie has demonstrated this many times. Stop trying to justify his incompetence.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Apr 24, 12 12:31 AM
Harbor, why the personal attacks? Hacks? Someday, when you get the courage to come out of hiding, perhaps we can have a discussion about hacks and NYC.
But, I totally disagree with you. Wilkinson followed previous processes used for similar transactions; he received advice of the Town Attorney, whose tenure has spanned different administrations, that no appraisals were necessary; and, he got more than 10 times the amount for the land then previous similar transactions. A good and timely ...more
By Carole Campolo (46), East Hampton on Apr 24, 12 9:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
Well said carol...harbor.... What happens when an appraisal comes in at $5000 for the alleyway.... Will you stil regard wilkinson as incompetent, or rather concede that as YOUR elected representative, he made a good business deal for the town and local businesses. he was supported by YOUR elected officials. 20 prior transactions without An appraisal, you want to go back and rescind all of them too, if you were not "timed out" i assume so.....well, Word of advice .... Get someone with molecum of ...more
By Andy P (19), Montauk on Apr 24, 12 10:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
What personal attack? Hack was reference to a cab. Like cabs in NYC? Huh.. Never mind.

I don't care what the appraisal is .. One dollar or one million. I don't want politicians of any party selling public property at a price plucked from the air. If you don't understand the corruption danger of that then i don't know what to say.

If I were a hotel owner, even a Republican one, I'd be pissed that my competitor was getting a sweetheart deal from the town. Wouldn't you?

By harbor (415), East Hampton on Apr 27, 12 10:22 PM