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Jul 16, 2019 11:23 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club Demands Southampton Town Remove St. Andrews Road Sign On Private Road, Accusing Highway Superintendent Of 'Fraud'

The St. Andrews Road extension, which cuts through the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, is blocked off by a fence. DANA SHAW
Jul 16, 2019 6:34 PM

Officials from the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club are demanding that a sign that they say was illegally installed by Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor on the club’s property be removed, or they will file a lawsuit seeking to have it removed.

In a letter to town officials, an attorney for Shinnecock Hills said the highway superintendent’s actions “constituted a fraud” because, he said, Mr. Gregor lied in official documents about the street sign being a replacement for one removed during the U.S. Open at the club in 2018—but one never existed.

Meanwhile, town officials say the dispute over St. Andrews Road has been resolved: A title company researched the matter and concluded that it is the property of the club, not the town.

Mr. Gregor had installed the street sign at the intersection of Tuckahoe Road and St. Andrews Road on December 31, identifying St. Andrews Road, without permission from the Town Board or the golf club.

Although St. Andrews Road, which the club recognizes as its property, has been blocked off for a number of years by the club, Mr. Gregor has maintained in the past few years that the road had never been turned over to the club during a deal that took place in the 1930s, one that involved the construction of County Road 39 through the southern portion of the club’s golf course. Thus, he said, it remains a town-owned road on paper.

Three years ago, the private club unsuccessfully made a push to close Tuckahoe Road to traffic and to have the town sign it over to the golf club, which would then make it a private street. In exchange, the club offered to build a road to the east of the club for motorists to access. The suggestion never won the necessary traction at Town Hall.

During that period, Mr. Gregor set his sights on the segment of St. Andrews Road that cuts through the course, saying he wanted to open it back up for the public to be able to get onto County Road 39 at the light where Tuckahoe Road bisects it.

Part of his efforts included sending a letter to the club on September 11, 2018, demanding that they remove barricades and signs at the property entrance so officials could do an inspection of the road and assess its condition.

Three and a half months later, Mr. Gregor installed the road sign and had his picture taken in front of it. He then proceeded to text that photo to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Tuckahoe property owner and a member of the golf club, who had met with town officials to try to promote the road swap deal.

Until the 1930s, St. Andrews Road wound its way through the southern portion of the golf club. It was not until County Road 39 was built that St. Andrews Road became fragmented.

Today, St. Andrews Road goes from Montauk Highway, up to County Road 39, where it goes under the main road and loops back for people to make a left or right onto the county roadway. Another portion of the road is located one-third of a mile west of Tuckahoe Road, and south of County Road 39.

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the town attorney’s office researched the history of the road and said land was traded between the golf club, the town and Suffolk County. Two holes of the original golf course ran through the space where County Road 39 currently sits.

In the 1930s, the Town Board passed a resolution swapping land so that the town and county would own where County Road 39 is, and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club would own St. Andrews Road, Mr. Schneiderman explained. The resolution also directed the highway superintendent at the time to file a certificate of abandonment.

“Everything happened exactly according to that resolution—except for the highway superintendent never filing the certificate of abandonment,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “That doesn’t undo the deal that was done for County Road 39.

“A title company reviewed this and determined, absolutely, that the property in question belongs to Shinnecock Hills, not the town,” he added.

On June 11, Anthony C. Pasca, an attorney with Esseks, Hefter, Angel Di Talia and Pasca LLP in Riverhead, who represents the club, sent a letter to Town Board members, demanding the removal of the street sign, and an investigation into its installation.

The letter, which was obtained by The Press through a Freedom of Information Law request, accuses Mr. Gregor of illegally installing the sign and falsifying documents in the process.

“The superintendent’s unlawful conduct affects property owned by SHGC, creates a dangerous condition, and constituted a fraud on SHGC and the taxpayers of Southampton,” the letter reads. “On December 31, 2018, the superintendent installed this street sign without the legal authority that can only come from the Town Board, and worse, he filed false instruments to justify the expenditure.”

When reached for comment on Monday, Mr. Pasca said, “The letter speaks for itself.”

“What we take issue with is that he took it upon himself, using taxpayer monies, to announce his theory with a road sign that only the Town Board could authorize, and worse, that he used a false paper trail meant to hide his lack of authority by suggesting that he was merely ‘replacing’ a sign that had been taken down during the 2018 U.S. Open,” Mr. Pasca said in the letter.

A service ticket attached to the letter showed that Mr. Gregor “replaced” the sign for $281.21.

On Monday, Mr. Gregor said he does not know for sure if there was a sign at the intersection prior, but when he conducted a review of the street after the U.S. Open, many signs were gone, and he directed his crews to install a sign there.

“I told them to put it up, because we have street signs on non-town-maintained roads and on town-maintained roads,” Mr. Gregor said. “It’s for public safety … What he’s talking about in his letter is he thinks I took the power to name and number the road, which is incorrect. The road has always been named St. Andrews Road.”

Mr. Gregor has been going back and forth with the golf club over St. Andrews Road for a few years.

In 2016, he said, the club’s plans to take over Tuckahoe Road from the town and turn a large portion that cuts through the golf club into a private road “went over like wind in the church with the public.”

One of the main powers behind the concept was Mr. Bloomberg, with whom Mr. Gregor had been texting back and forth as the former New York City mayor was building his estate on Whites Lane.

“Usually, I do send a holiday greeting to people, and it’s not unusual for me to stand by a sign,” he said, explaining that he sent texted that photo to Mr. Bloomberg.

Mr. Gregor admitted that he sent the photo as a taunt, because he was trying to get the club to move on from the road. “Whether it’s a private road or a town road, we put signs up when the road has a given name—which it does,” he said. “Everything gets treated the same.”

In May, the golf club was given a conditional approval to install gates at both ends of the portion of St. Andrews Road that cuts through the course, Mr. Gregor said, under the condition that if the road is part of the town system, they would be removed.

A couple of weeks later, on June 11, Mr. Pasca sent the letter to the Town Board demanding that the sign be taken down.

Mr. Gregor said he has tried reaching out to the club and its attorneys to meet and discuss the road, but they have not responded.

He also noted that individual members of the Bloomberg family have donated a combined $15,000 to Mr. Schneiderman’s campaign to get reelected as supervisor—Mr. Gregor is also running for town supervisor on the Independence Party line.

“All things seem to collide at once,” Mr. Gregor said, suggesting it was not a coincidence that pressure was being applied to the situation with the road.

On June 18, state records show, Mr. Bloomberg, his partner, Diana Lancaster-Taylor, ex-wife Susan Brown, and two daughters, Emma Bloomberg and Georgina Bloomberg, all donated $3,000 each to Mr. Schneiderman’s reelection campaign.

On Monday, Mr. Schneiderman said he was not aware of any efforts from Mr. Gregor to get a meeting together to discuss the road.

But when it came to Mr. Gregor’s allegation that the town was applying pressure to him on because of donations from the Bloomberg family, Mr. Schneiderman rebuffed the claim.

“I’ve never had a conversation with Bloomberg about St. Andrews Road—ever,” he said. “It’s possible that Mr. Bloomberg doesn’t care much for Alex, but I didn’t ask the former mayor why he contributed to me. He’s a well-respected former mayor of New York and a major philanthropist … if he thinks I’m doing a good job as town supervisor, that’s great. I’m happy to have his donation, as well as anyone who wants to contribute and thinks I’m doing a good job.”

Mr. Schneiderman said Mr. Bloomberg was one of the people who wanted to see Tuckahoe Road relocated, but after listening to the proposal, which the public did not support, the Town Board took the measure off the table.

Mr. Gregor, he said, is trying to claim St. Andrews Road as a town-owned road, but the supervisor reiterated that it is not town property, according to the historical records.

Still, Mr. Pasca demanded in his letter, that the Town Board address the sign and arrange for its removal.

“Towns do not install street signs designating private property as public roads,” he said in the letter. “If the sign tacitly invites trespass, the Town will be equally responsible for that trespass. And, since the road sign was installed on a driveway that is both barricaded and unsuitable for public passage, the Superintendent has recklessly promoted driver confusion and dangerous conditions by trying to lure unwitting travelers onto this unsuitable drive.

“If the Town Board refuses to correct this dangerous condition, it will be responsible for the results thereof,” he added.

Mr. Schneiderman said if Mr. Gregor does not remove the sign on his own, the Town Board could direct him to do it through a resolution—or even get the Town Police Department involved.

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Ridiculous. Texting photos as a taunt is some real professionalism right there. Let's elect him to run the whole Town.
By bettyboo (38), Southampton on Jul 16, 19 2:34 PM
2 members liked this comment
Honestly, it is time for Alex Gregor to resign his office. He is simply unfit.
By CPalmer (89), Southampton on Jul 17, 19 5:30 AM
2 members liked this comment
As much as I respect Gregor's attempt at bucking the system he's the equivalent of a bull in a china shop.
By lirider (276), Hampton Bays on Jul 16, 19 4:18 PM
To quote Casablanca: I’m shocked, SHOCKED to learn that Alex Gregor abuses his office, deliberately ignores his legal authority, files false requests for tax money (a crime), sends taunting selfies about all of the above, then lies lies lies, right to our faces, about it all. And, oh, by the way, all the while being completely wrong on the facts about this road, according to EVERYONE ELSE. Yeah, let’s elect this lowlife some more. Great idea. To his 85 primary supporters (approx 1 ...more
By CPalmer (89), Southampton on Jul 16, 19 4:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why would the town deed it to the club??? County Road not town... All the illegal stuff the club does is not mentioned.
You can't cut down a tree, they cut hundreds...
By knitter (1813), Southampton on Jul 16, 19 6:10 PM
The FBI has a working formula, FOLLOW THE MONEY. In this case, it probably leads to TOWN HALL.

Don't be surprised to find out, who in Town Hall Bloomberg is supporting ($$$) in the upcoming November election.

When the Southampton Hospital relocates to the college campus, how many lives will be lost in the North Sea area, due to the extra travel time emergency vehicles will need? Maybe the County should take over the Golf Course, by condemnation, for the Public good.

, ...more
By SpeedRacer (149), Southampton on Jul 16, 19 6:35 PM
3 members liked this comment
it sounds like Alex is looking out for all the taxpayers and not just club members and Alex has always had the conservative line until the party is being run by Torres and the west end gang, Jay and heckman was given the line by Torres who is heckmans brother in-law who was fired by the board of elections, nepotism at its best and I wonder if he has any other family members that might need a party position .
By taxpayer1 (72), Southampton on Jul 16, 19 9:12 PM
Don't kid yourself, TP1! Alex Gregor can't even spell "taxpayers" let alone be concerned for their well-being!

This little maneuver is something that Alex hopes will distract attention from those "taxpayers" noticing that he is a lazy know-nothing, both as Superintendent and during the brief time he played at working for the Highway Department!



By Frank Wheeler (1816), Northampton on Jul 16, 19 10:56 PM
2 members liked this comment
‘Looking out for the taxpayers”. Hmmm. By lying to have a sign made with taxpayer money, that never existed before, wasn’t authorized and isn’t accurate, all to advance his personal political message of ’Fighting with the rich” and help him keep his taxpayer job? Have to disagree with you on that one.
By CPalmer (89), Southampton on Jul 17, 19 3:03 AM
2 members liked this comment
Chief Harold Lutz, Beverly Hills Cop II
By Mr. Z (11491), North Sea on Jul 17, 19 3:26 AM
3 members liked this comment
Didn't someone try to take Tuckahoe RD from the taxpayers??? Who donated to JAY???
By knitter (1813), Southampton on Jul 17, 19 12:33 PM
Didn't someone try to take Tuckahoe RD from the taxpayers??? Who donated to JAY???
By knitter (1813), Southampton on Jul 17, 19 12:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
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By HamptonClassic (101), Southampton on Jul 17, 19 12:46 PM
I love how the club uses brush along Sebonic Road to create a natural barrier from us residents. Dont need permit for that?? I love driving through the public road so I can see the golf course that they blocked me from viewing. Such a good neighbor how many if us grew up sledding over there and now...nothing.
By North Sea Citizen (556), North Sea on Jul 17, 19 2:18 PM
Golf course does not pay its fair share of taxes to the Tuckahoe school district
By deKooning (105), southampton on Jul 18, 19 11:26 AM
Maybe you are right, maybe you are wrong. Is that an excuse for a public official to act illegally and perhaps criminally against them?
By CPalmer (89), Southampton on Jul 18, 19 5:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
Isn’t the locked gate installed on the eastern end enough to indicate that even with a street sign it’s now a private road?
Not sure what exactly was wrong with the way it was before.
By 38 (5), southampton on Jul 21, 19 4:55 PM
The Shinnecock Nation rightly claims that it’s their road. How about we really look into this and get to the bottom of it. I’m sure Bloomberg wants to get it right.
By even flow (904), East Hampton on Jul 22, 19 6:57 AM
DUMP ALEX GREGOR
By themarlinspike (439), Northern Hemisphere on Jul 22, 19 7:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
Rather than putting up stupid signs, it would be better to put in a proper right hand turn lane on Tuckahoe rd. and CR39 and cut back trees to the East so that people turning right can see oncoming traffic from the East.
By V.Tomanoku (776), southampton on Jul 22, 19 8:21 AM
2 members liked this comment
The Hampton Classic, Horse Show, Bridgehampton