Mr. Floatie Accuses Rye Mayor

21 Oct, 2011

By Polly Kreisman


 


 


Many people in Rye– and elsewhere– know about HealTheHarbor Executive Director Ray Tartaglione, known to dress up as a huge human turd and roam Purchase Street, in order to bring attention to his pet peeve, Hen Island.


Now he is accusing Rye Mayor Doug French of unscrupulous activities, below.


The Mayor’s response follows that.


To the Editor:

“In the election of 2009 HealTheHarbor.com joined hundreds of other concerned Rye City citizens in helping elect Douglas French as Rye City’s Mayor based on his stated commitment to immediately enforce local environmental and building laws long completely ignored out on Rye’s offshore cottage community known as Hen Island. In Hen Island’s case, decades of secret illegal construction of home sanitary, household water, electric and other systems today threaten the health and safety of all Rye City residents using or living along the Long Island Sound.


With this stunning new revelation that Mayor French has himself personally engaged in these exact same types of illegal, secret, unsupervised, un-inspected and untaxed construction activities for almost 2 decades in his own home it leads us to suspect that we now know why he was unwilling to initiate promised enforcement actions out on Hen Island. Additionally, anybody or any group who has surreptitiously known about Mayor French’s history of personal secret illegal construction activities would have a real ability to pressure him behind closed doors to delay or halt any clean up and enforcement actions on Hen Island or elsewhere. This kind of public official who has much to hide is susceptible to a wide range of patronage and other political pressures – none of which accrue any benefits at all to the other honest citizen taxpayers of The City of Rye.”


 


Mayor French’s response:


In his quest to develop Hen Island against the wishes of its homeowners association and without any validity to his complaints against them, Mr. Tartaglione continues to make it personal against Rye’s Mayor — whoever is serving.  He has tried to intimidate my family and is now making assumptions and false claims about my rental property.  If you have

further questions you can speak directly with the building department, but no violations or illegal work has taken place on the property.  We are looking to sell it so thanks for the extra publicity.”  Doug


Douglas French

Mayor, City of Rye


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  • http://www.HEALtheHARBOR.com healtheharbor

    On July 1st, 2011 the Rye City Building department issued violation number V0000758 to the owners of 13 Richard Place, Rye New York. The violation lists “building without a permit” as its reason. According to 2011 City of Rye Assessment Rolls, 13 Richard Place is designated as a two family home – with an unfinished attic – and no record of improvements of any kind since 1949.

    Yet in a newly public sale listing 13 Richard Place is described as a one family residence featuring new skylights, a new eat in kitchen, a new “electric box upgrade” installed in 2008 and with heating system and roof replacements dating from the mid 1990’s. No mention is made anywhere of the status of the home’s previous 2nd kitchen, 2nd entrance or other typical 2 family home elements.

    Rye City records indicate the owners of the home are Douglas H. and Carrie French, who purchased it in November of 1992. An examination of mortgage records from their 1992 purchase indicate the couple apparently never disclosed to lenders that it was in fact a two family dwelling – instead attesting the property was “improved by a one family residence only.” Copies of the relevant above referenced official documents are attached hereto. http://healtheharbor.com/happenings.shtml

    Since 1992 when the French’s acquired the home, the City of Rye has written hundreds of violations for illegal construction activity within its city limits. Thousands of dollars of penalties and permit fees have been collected and the Rye City Tax Assessor has subsequently raised property valuations and thus tax collections for these improved structures. Many Rye homeowners now complain that even a doorknob cannot be changed without a city construction permit and that their property taxes have skyrocketed to unsustainable levels. In this instance, under Mayor French’s direction, a home zoned for 2 families secretly becomes a 1 family home while the scope of the undisclosed illegal construction improvements is undeniably substantial.

  • http://www.HEALtheHARBOR.com healtheharbor

    “without any validity to his complaints”
    http://www.myrye.com/my_weblog/2008/08/hen-island—ph.html

    “is now making assumptions and false claims about my rental property”
    “no violations or illegal work has taken place on the property”
    http://healtheharbor.com/french/City-of-Rye-Record-Card-French.pdf

    “against the wishes of its homeowners association”
    http://www.myrye.com/my_weblog/2009/10/the-last-word-rye-mayoral-candidate-doug-french.html?cid=6a00d8341d20cd53ef0120a69c7cee970c#comment-6a00d8341d20cd53ef0120a69c7cee970c

  • http://www.HEALtheHARBOR.com healtheharbor

    Quotes from Mayor French in this article;
    “without any validity to his complaints” AND “In his quest to develop Hen Island”

    13:35 minutes into this video Attorney Jordan Glass reads a letter from James Carnecelli a current member of the Board of Directors for the Westchester County Board of Health to Mayor Doug French. Mr. Carnecelli identifies many of the problems on Hen Island that Mayor French stated in this article are “without any validity to his complaints”
    http://ryeny.swagit.com/play/08102011-135/9/

    Also in the same clip Mayor French denies ever spreading rumors about development of the Island.
    “In his quest to develop Hen Island”
    18:30 minutes into this clip Mayor French states he has never told anyone that Ray Tartaglione wants to develop Hen Island.

    When elected officials fail to implement environmental laws there must be a reason. Occasionally the reason is that these officials will not (or cannot) defy the vested interests of influential individuals. Often, politicians make human mistakes but are afraid to face the political and economic consequences of redressing those mistakes.

    And sometimes the truth lies somewhere in between.

    Take the case of Mr. Robert Schubert. In the summer of 2006 his wetlands garden dried up when the city of Rye allowed a neighbor to install a dry well where none had previously existed. Rye’s naturalist at that time, Chantal Detlefs (who was away when the permitting error was first made), has since categorically stated, “The only way the dry well does not require a Wetland Permit would be if one already existed in the exact same location at the exact same depth and size, etc.”

    (cf: Letter from Ms. Detlefs dated 02/18/09 to Rye City Mayor Otis & Council Members)

    Despite the clear fact that the city of Rye failed to follow through on appropriate wetlands permitting with regards to Mr. Schubert’s garden — a simple error which should have been speedily rectified — the Rye City Council has drawn out this process for more than three years. Why?

    During this time Mr. Schubert has been diligently trying to get the problem solved; apparently a nuisance to the city council. In a bizarre “act of concern and compassion” for Schubert, Paul Shew, Rye City Manager, actually called the Westchester County Crisis Team to “evaluate” him. Schubert contends this was done in an attempt to silence him at council meetings. Only now, with a groundswell of public outrage in support of Mr. Schubert, is the city council making any headway towards resolving this situation. Yet still at the February 25, 2009, meeting Shew had the temerityto declare public interest and support for Schubert, “just a publicity stunt.”

    The question is why?

    Are legitimate environmental issues too unimportant for Rye government to address? They shouldn’t be. That’s what more and more people concerned about protecting the environment for future generations want their cities and towns to do.

    So the question remains: why do environmental codes get short shrift? Similar questions hover with respect to Rye’s Hen Island. This 25-acre, privately owned island in Milton Harbor has been the subject of scrutiny by concerned locals, government officials and environmental groups such as Long Island Soundkeeper headed by Terry Backer. Few, if any, safety, sanitary or building codes are enforced on Hen Island.

    The question is why?

    Why, for instance, was Ron Gatto, the eminent lead investigator of the Westchester County Environmental Enforcement Unit, removed from the Hen Island case after he reported environmental, safety and health issues serious enough to close the island? Or should we ask “who” removed him?

    Why did Gatto’s successor to the Hen Island case, Westchester County Deputy HealthCommissioner Len Meyerson, find no such health issues even though some open, untreated sewage pits exist less than 10 feet from the shoreline? According to Meyerson, two inspections determined no sewage was leaking into Long Island Sound. When queried by a local reporter he glossed over the issue thusly: “…Mother Earth is the best way of making sure that the pollutants are removed from human waste — from sanitary waste water.”

    In other words, once sewage effluents are diluted by the Sound, there’s no problem. Is this an appropriate attitude for a public health official in one of the most affluent counties in the U.S.?

    At the moment questions outnumber answers. To get answers, more concerned citizensneed to bring pressure to bear on public officials. Insist on candor and transparency. Refuse to be brushed aside with platitudes and double-talk. Keep asking them “Why?” environmental laws and health codes are being ignored.

    Ray Tartaglione

  • cornell88

    This doesn’t look like a diference of opinion to me. Can’t anybody check and see if there is violations at the mayor of Ryes home or not?
    He says no violations but heal the harbors says there is. Did heal the harbor make up that number? Easy to check I think.
    I think this mayor French has some explaining to do if there is a violation here.Like a typical politician he shoots the messenger.
    Why does the mayor of Rye have a ax to grind with this guy anyway. Does the mayor dump his garbage form his outhouse into the sound too? Thats why I never swim there. It seems dirty and now we got sewage from this island that this mayor french is covering up.
    Come monday a reporter should check this violation and put it on the front page.

  • ryepba

    Hang in there Mr. Tartaglione.

    Justice will overtake fabricators of lies and false witnesses.

    Heraclitus

  • tedc

    November 2, 2011 – Rye City Mayor Douglas French refuses to address newly revealed apparent long secret uninspected and untaxed construction projects in his own home – uses mayoral gavel to block speech – directs investigator Tartaglione down to same city commission that refused to hold public hearing on Schubert’s Pond wetland destruction.

    Call me crazy – but Thank You Mr. Tartaglione – you have no respect for the status quo.

  • ryepba

    Tedc

    Given all of the evidence presented to date I have formed the opinion that Mayor French may have violated several Rye laws and ordinances.

    It was nauseating last night to watch French try to circumvent an investigation of himself by using his bully pulpit to shamelessly stifle the 1st amendment rights of the very person in possession of evidence of French’s indiscretions.

    There needs to be an investigation conducted and not by City Manager Pickup as French suggested. Pickup is French’s subordinate and is not in a position to conduct an investigation of his boss.

    How can the City of Rye credibly enforce any of their laws if Mayor French is allowed to violate them?

  • http://www.HEALtheHARBOR.com healtheharbor

    This was on News 12 this morning. Seems like Mayor French is not the only one with his hands in the taxpayers’ pockets.

    A knock outside Judy Kennedy’s door the morning after she wins Newburgh’s mayoral race. The person wasn’t there to congratulate Kennedy. He was there to investigate her. Our Elaina Athans tells us why and has Kennedy’s response.

    http://hudsonvalley.ynn.com/content/top_stories/563289/investigation-launched-on-newburgh-mayor-elect/

    NEWBURGH, N.Y. – “We need to pay our taxes and our mortgages and that’s all this is about,” said Newburgh Mayor-elect Judy Kennedy.
    Kennedy’s housing arrangements are under scrutiny by the city she was just picked to represent. Wednesday morning, hours after her win, a code compliance inspector showed up at Kennedy’s Grand Street home to investigate if she’s housing too many people inside.
    Kennedy said, “I’m just sharing my house with some housemates and I believe there’s a lot of people in this city that have been forced to do that given both the economic downturn and the taxes that have happened in this city.”
    The review was launched by a familiar face to Kennedy, her mayoral opponent and current councilmember Christine Bello.
    “According to the white pages, that third floor apartment is rented,” said Bello.
    Bello says she filed in complaint in August.
    “The housemates that pay rent are called tenants and that is not in line with our codes,” said Bello. “When you get up and you want to complain about taxes being too high and you’re not paying your fair share and you’re cheating the very taxpayers you wish to represent.”

  • onlyme

    Rye’s elected officials and politicians need to be investigated from the Mayor on down – there is so much unscrupulous stuff going on it’s nauseating. In addition to the Hen Island problem and Mayor French’s dirty dealings at his property, there is the certainty that someone is making deals with someone on the Building Commission in order to get houses built that are much larger than is either tasteful or in keeping with neighborhood planning and zoning. An investigative reporter would have a field day in Rye!

    I admire your perseverance on the Hen Island issue, Mr. Tartaglione. Keep it up. It amazes me that in the year 2011 in one of the most progressive and affluent ares of our country, we close our eyes to the fact that raw sewerage is being dumped into the same water in which our children swim. We are allowing ourselves to be blinded to this. We are allowing our Mayor to turn his back on it. What is wrong with us?

  • ryepba

    It boggles the mind that these allegations are not being investigated. Unfortunately this is nothing new for Rye. They will go to all extremes to cover up their failings and malfeasance.

    French knows that his puppet Pickup will not look into these allegations. Now French has resorted to violating the first amendment of the United States of America by putting up a wall around himself by not allowing the public to even ask questions about the allegations at public meetings.

    I don’t know if Rye can last two more years living with the French and Pickup hide and seek show. These two jokers are an embarrassment to smart and accountable public officials across Westchester and beyond.