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May 8, 2012 12:21 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Cohen Storms Out Of East Hampton Town Board Meeting After Alleging Improper Meeting

May 10, 2012 12:59 PM

Former East Hampton Town supervisor candidate Zachary Cohen stormed out of a 
Town Board meeting last 
Thursday after an argument with Councilwoman Theresa Quigley and Supervisor Bill Wilkinson.

At the meeting, Mr. Cohen alleged that town staff got together to interrogate him after allegations he made in a letter to the Independent newspaper last week. In the letter, Mr. Cohen alleged that town staff met behind closed doors and conspired to illegally sign off on renovations at the former Ronjo Motel in Montauk without proper review.

“I find it really disheartening to learn this and learn it from more than one person and I think you have a lot of explaining” to do, Mr. Cohen said.

Mr. Cohen opposed Mr. Wilkinson in last year’s election.

Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley said Mr. Cohen’s claims were untrue.

“The letter was so wrong in its facts that I was startled,” Ms. Quigley said. Mr. Wilkinson called it “slanderous.”

Town Attorney John Jilnicki suggested the town refer the allegations to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

“If there’s an allegation of an illegal activity then it deserves to be investigated,” he said. Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley said they agreed.

The argument continued after Mr. Cohen left the podium 
and sat down. Mr. Cohen then left the meeting mid-conversation.

“This is a wonderful thing,” Mr. Wilkinson said. “So he gets up to the podium, makes an accusation and then leaves.”

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Is this the same Zach Cohen who was sent a "cease and desist" letter from the State Comptroller's Office during his campaign for making misleading remarks about his involvement/work with that office? Are these the same Dems who wanted the DA's Office to investigate Len Bernard? Who file a suite against Fred Overton for doing his job? Who sue the Town for helping people try to keep their homes from falling into the ocean? This stuff is so disgusting ... it is truly discouraging to watch as the ...more
By Board Watcher (521), East Hampton on May 8, 12 5:50 PM
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The issue is, "Did the town staff secretly and improperly aid the Ronjo motel renovation project?" Everybody agrees that it should be investigated, so I assume that the Board will do so, tasking a non-town agent, as is appropriate, with the job.

My thanks to Board Watcher for more of the history of the Town of East Hampton, Republican version, but it's not on point, again.
By highhatsize (3364), East Quogue on May 8, 12 6:37 PM
You missed the point HHS? You must be slipping ... do you think it's true and should be investigated just because Zach Cohen said it with hs cohort Sylvia Overby nodding her head from the podium?? C'mon ... bogus issues brought up by bogus people ... that's the point.
By Board Watcher (521), East Hampton on May 15, 12 11:32 AM
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to Board Watcher:
Quote:
"'If there’s an allegation of an illegal activity then it deserves to be investigated,' he [Town Attorney John Jilnicki] said. Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley said they agreed."

Careful, Board Watcher. Heresy.
By highhatsize (3364), East Quogue on May 15, 12 12:52 PM
They are agreeing because they are RIGHT and felt that Cohen's accusations should not be left hanging out there to fester. Especially considering the source(s). I'll stop posting if the DA finds any imporpriety at all - except for the baseless comments made by Zach Cohen. Will you, Republican hater, if there is no "secret and improper aid" to an applicant who is going through the process just like everyone else?? The POINT is that no one should take the comments, criticisms and allegations made ...more
By Board Watcher (521), East Hampton on May 16, 12 4:57 PM
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to Board Watcher:

In the interest of preserving SOME rational commentary on this forum, I will decline your invitation to leave.

However, for the same reason, it heartens me to read that you have pledged to do so if impropriety is uncovered.

While acknowledging the meaninglessness of this pledge since you will simply log on under a new pseudonym, perhaps the exercise will encourage you to adopt one that is more appropriate to your perspective, like, "True Believer".
By highhatsize (3364), East Quogue on May 17, 12 11:54 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Board Watcher (521), East Hampton on May 28, 12 8:30 PM
Hmmmm - not only is the answer "no" - but it seems I am directly on point and you have no sense of East Hampton Town history, whether it's Democrat OR Republican. i am not enamored with what's going on with this dysfunctional Board ... but I can only IMAGINE what it would have been like if the majority had ended up being "spinmeisters" and favor-givers for Gruber, Kelley, CCOM and the Conservators. Enough is enough.
By Board Watcher (521), East Hampton on Jun 10, 12 1:16 PM
When the DA investigates and find's Cohen's statement untrue and without merit then maybe people will realize how reckless such matter of fact assertions really are. They strike at the good reputations of hard working and honest public servants. I would hope those slandered take appropriate action. My source in the enforcement department tells me for a fact Cohen's letter in the Independent is absolute fiction. For example, no one ever fainted or became ill in a meeting about the Ronjo because ...more
By factsandtruth (42), East Hampton on May 8, 12 7:17 PM
facts and truth - you are so right. let them investigate.. Cohen et al need to understand that such statements have really serious consequences, when in fact, as i suspect - they are nothing more "than want they really want to believe" in order to try and score political points. I think a little political banter is acceptable in any community, but Cohen and "Dump Overby" have raised the stakes to a very high level..... going to be a really interesting how they feel about that decision in a few ...more
By Andy P (19), Montauk on May 8, 12 10:22 PM
Board Watcher - people's houses falling into the ocean is their own fault, for building a house too close to the ocean. why is anything a democrat says "political bickering"? this is why we're all doomed. good luck.
By milkdilk (45), Southampton on May 8, 12 7:35 PM
it's the baseless lawsuits against the Town (by groups that DO NOT hire outside attorneys - they have their own "Democrats" that they don't pay to join in their endeavors) that we, as taxpayers have to defend that get me angry ... perhaps HHS should get a new hobby and track how much they have cost the Town and how they have ended up - now THAT would be more interesting than .... blah, blah, blah
By Board Watcher (521), East Hampton on May 26, 12 7:52 PM
The democrats have many people in and affiliated with their committee that are all too ready to take any unsubstantiated issue and run shouting all over town without reasonably checking things out first. If I was a conspiracy nut, I'd say it would be so easy for Wilky and Quigs to set Cohen up with an untrue red herring like this story. But then, I don't think they have the time or the inclination to do so. It would be damn funny though!
By jperrier (48), Springs on May 8, 12 8:25 PM
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The democrats have many people in and affiliated with their committee that are all too ready to take any unsubstantiated issue and run shouting all over town without reasonably checking things out first. If I was a conspiracy nut, I'd say it would be so easy for Wilky and Quigs to set Cohen up with an untrue red herring like this story. But then, I don't think they have the time or the inclination to do so. It would be damn funny though!
By jperrier (48), Springs on May 8, 12 8:27 PM
Zach Cohen needs to watch his performance on TV and maybe seek some help on the timing of his medication! Clearly the man is suffering with the pressures of life as "opposition". Goodness knows what a let off the Town had there. As regards his comments - completely without basis - and as usual just a bunch of nonsense spouted out and see what sticks. Lets recap this mans "genius" in the past few weeks...... 1."lets get an alleyway appraisal"..... lost that one with a bogus 184K pile of nonsense ...more
By Andy P (19), Montauk on May 8, 12 10:05 PM
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Aww, poor little thing, got his widdle feathers all ruffled up.
By MickNY (43), East Hampton on May 9, 12 3:15 PM
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I hear papers could be in the process of being drawn up even before the DA says nothing happened. Word is the Cohen letter is so off base and so wrong that the aggrieved parties have already contacted outside attorneys who say there is a slander case to be made. This could get real interesting, especially with the word from those with friends who work for the town saying Overby actually stood outside Quigley's closed door and listened to what was going on, then supposedly told the Dem big wigs ...more
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 9, 12 9:04 PM
Yes, let’s take this to the DA. Glad to hear that papers are filed. Talk “Around the water cooler” is about Quigley, Gunn and Hammer hashing out a plan to make Cohen stop talking about their activities by having Gunn call Cohen at home! Is that intimidation? FYI, you can hear what goes on in the town board offices from the coffee room in the basement! The truth is, the meeting took place and it doesn’t look good
By ehranter (5), East Hampton on May 10, 12 11:03 AM
Can someone from town hall weigh in on this? Are the solid wood floors and whatever the ceilings are made of in the basement really that flimsy? I have wooden floors in my house and you can't hear people talking upstairs when in the basement ---and my floors are not 100 year old aged hardwood. This basement thing sounds like a way out for Overby. But from what I see here the truth has already surfaced. All the same I would like to know about the coffee room thing, because if not true it only ...more
By factsandtruth (42), East Hampton on May 10, 12 10:15 PM
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Just spoke to someone who read your post at lunch who works in Town Hall. They checked - you can't hear anything in the basement. Sorry. And by the way the word from Town Hall is someone already spilled the beans on Overby. The person admitted to seeing Overby eavesdropping outside Quigley's door. Sorry again. And the latest is that a slander suit is coming and papers will be served at the appropriate time. What a mess.
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 10, 12 7:22 PM
This is from town hall. The coffee room is not even under Quigley's Office. The coffee room is under the town board secretary's desk. There is no way anything being said in Quigley's office can be heard in the coffee room. If you don't believe me go to town hall and ask any one of the employees to show you, I'm sure they will be more than happy to oblige because everyone is pretty ticked off that people are listening through doors at what is being discussed in private. It is a public building ...more
By settherecordstraight (16), springs on May 11, 12 6:36 PM
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That would be a nosy (as in listening to private conversations) town board member - Overby.
By settherecordstraight (16), springs on May 11, 12 6:38 PM
The big question I hear is how to draw up the papers. Does Cohen get sued alone, with Overby, does the Independent also get named with Cohen or maybe independently- the possibilities are almost endless here. Did the Independent get multiple sources for what it reported or did they rely on Cohen alone or did Cohen get bad information from the Independent, and what exactly did Overby hear through Quigley's door? Was is muffled voices or did she hear understandable words? The Independent said it ...more
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 11, 12 9:24 PM
E H Ranter- what a load on BS. The truth is overby was listening at the door, and the truth has come out. This " I heard it through the floorboards" is just an excuse for the sad truth- and it is a sad reflection on her character. She and Cohen are in big trouble over this. All this is a complete mess- and this is what happens when you put politics ahead of community and ahead of the responsibilities for which you were elected. What goes around comes around, and it's coming!
By Andy P (19), Montauk on May 12, 12 10:03 AM
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To EHRanter- EXPOSED- you are Silvia Overby! Now it all makes sense.
By Andy P (19), Montauk on May 12, 12 10:29 AM
EH ranter is Overby or relative - look at the posts by EH ranter, especially the one explaining how helpful Overby supposedly was while on the Planning Board. You just can't get away with listening through doors, get caught and expect the person who caught you to not say anything when confronted. What is so disappointing is the Independent bought into the story. Although it seems quite apparent McGintee lied and did bad things, you have to wonder just how much the Independent "added" to the story ...more
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 12, 12 5:38 PM
A quote from LisaUnger's book, Fragile:
"There was a story chuck's father used to tell about the boy who spread a rumor against a good doctor in the town where he lived. When the boy went to make amends, the doctor asked him to cut open a feather pillow and let the wind take the feathers away, then to come back the next day. When the boy returned, the doctor asked him to collect all the feathers and put them back into the pillow. Of course, it could never be done. Those feathers had been ...more
By xtiego (606), bridgehampton on May 12, 12 7:57 PM
Rumors? Everything I hear comes from people speaking directly with those slandered. I know for a fact they are speaking with the offended. Overby eavesdropping? No rumor - fact. Inaccurate Cohen letter? No rumor - fact. Outside lawyers consulted on law suit? No rumor - fact.
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 12, 12 8:50 PM
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The EH star today BURIED an article in the back confirming the value of the ronjo parcel at 35,000. If the the dems were right on this one it would have been front page news. I eagerly await an apology from the Frankel, overby and Van Scoy saying "we are sorry for holding up important town business and wasting everyones time and money"
By razza5350 (1867), East Hampton on May 18, 12 8:24 AM
Yep, I agree an apology is in order to the town and the folks at the ronjo. I don't think we have heard the last of this one yet though. When overby goes to the extent of trying to lead town officials, listen at people's doors and actively go out to harm a business- then you know sooner or later she will come face to face with what she is long over due. When Cohen slanders folks and makes a fool of himself on tv- you know he's going to get something he is overdue too. I have a feeling this will ...more
By Andy P (19), Montauk on May 19, 12 10:30 PM
As the appraiser noted, the value he arrived at is only valid assuming that no one other than Ronjo wants to buy the alleyway. The way to test this assumption is to put the parcel up for bid (with a minimum of $$35K). It has been noted that the alleyway is suitable for food vending and for parking.

In addition, the Board's behavior in this matter is a continuation of the Wilkinson policy of
May 20, 12 12:22 PM appended by highhatsize
[How odd. The site indicated that I had reached my two-a-day posting limit and then posted half of my comment. Here's the rest of it.] In addition, the Board's behavior in this matter is a continuation of the Wilkinson policy of divesting East Hampton of Town-owned property, a dubious stratagem in that it can never be reversed. Others have stated that the acquisition of this parcel will permit a significant increase in public patronage with attendant traffic and noise problems. There seem to be a lot of unanswered questions regarding this transaction. While the EH Republican Tag Team regards all questions about the Ronjo project as an attempt at economic sabotage, one wonders if it is that attitude that has prevented the questions from being addressed. Indeed, considering the fact that the Ronjo developers spent serious money on this property despite the pre-existing Town-owned parcel that obstructed their plans, one wonders if they did not proceed on the basis of an "understanding" with the ruling party. The impression that the tag team members have fostered is that the Ronjo property was a slum and that "redevelopment" should be encouraged even if the Town loses some initial income. This is a reasonable argument but if it is the reason that the Ronjo developers have been given special consideration, it should be plainly stated. As for the latest Cohen/Wilkinson/Quigley/Overby flap, the butt-slapping and high-fiving of the tag team members is delusional (and funny!) There will be no defamation suits. There is no cause of action and Cohen seems sufficiently flush so that a nuisance suit wouldn't overly disaccommodate him. Jerry Della Femina, on the other hand, must be living in terror at the thought of the Independent being sued, given the historical success of libel actions against newspapers.
By highhatsize (3364), East Quogue on May 20, 12 12:22 PM
The alley way is not appropriate for parking - cars - maybe bikes and motorcycles. Car stalls are 12 feet long, that leaves 8 feet to maneuver in and out of parking spots - a true disaster waiting to happen - STUPID!!!! And there is no way a hot dog wagon is appropriate for the middle of Montauk. If you sell that piece for a hot dog wagon maybe the town can sell the alley in 50 foot pieces and create a midway right through the middle of the hamlet like Coney Island. By suggesting a weenie wagon ...more
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 20, 12 4:54 PM
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to connwatcher:

I think that your proposal is a splendid idea. A welcoming arch at the head of the parcel could announce it as "Gourmet Alley". Spaces could be leased out to vendors selling artisanal foods. (Not weenies, of course. [You will have your little joke].) It would be a real treat for daytime summer crowds and a great addition to Montauk, not to mention providing needed employment for local entrepreneurs.

Thank you!
By highhatsize (3364), East Quogue on May 21, 12 11:30 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 22, 12 9:38 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 23, 12 6:16 PM
Someone in the independent article stated that she may be indicted.? is this true? what's the punishment? if she did what is being suggested she should be made to resign, I guess if she goes behind bars, she might have to anyway. Maybe they will let her out for the board meetings!
By janehp (10), Sag Harbor on May 23, 12 11:09 PM
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"Word around town hall" is that Elaine Jones is also part of feeding the bogus information to certain members of the press and that certain Democrats have warned Cohen and others to watch out for her get Wilkinson blindness to the truth. It now seems that Cohen and Overby have conspired to carry out this orchestrated plot to try to embarrass Wilkinson and Quigley by using the bogus Ronjo issue for political gain. The DA should be talking to Jones, Cindy Marshall, and Van S. The DA is bound to ...more
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 24, 12 9:43 PM
Interesting thing about all of this is that these people - Elaine Jones, Silvia Overby, Jeane Frankl, BettyMazur, Zach Cohen, and Chris Kelly all conspiring to get Wilkinson for political gain get so blinkered by their own hatred and obsession that they completely loose site of the Community, and the moral standards by which most normal people lead their lives. In this instance they go so far, that it sounds like they have overstepped not just community and moral boundaries, but legal ones too. ...more
By Andy P (19), Montauk on May 25, 12 8:39 PM
To EH Ranter - AKA Silvia Overby - According to the Indie, you might have had a little visit with someone? Care to enlighten us on how that one went, and whether your earlier posts might be something you wish to reconsider?
By Andy P (19), Montauk on May 25, 12 8:49 PM
Honestly, you folks have got to stop stroking each other so overtly or you will be arrested.

Never on this forum have so many collaborated to build such a house of cards based so completely on ephemeral rumor and gossip.

The only important question to be answered is whether or not Wilkinson and Quigley colluded to illegally aid the Ronjo development. ALL the rest, by which I mean ALL the Republican “water cooler talk”, is political bombast.
By highhatsize (3364), East Quogue on May 26, 12 12:24 AM
HHS - and did it occur to you that the other question is whether or not Overby and Cohen sought to illegally collude to STOP the ronjo development - or do you think the law has to reflect only one side of the story?..... Does it occur to you that sometimes the best form of defence is offence, and maybe knowing they were on the back foot the Dems went on the offensive with no basis to their argument whatsoever, other than to create a smokescreen around the issue and diffuse the scrutiny on their ...more
By Andy P (19), Montauk on May 26, 12 7:03 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By settherecordstraight (16), springs on May 26, 12 8:20 PM
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