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May 15, 2012 3:12 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town Ronjo Alleyway Appraisal Comes Back

May 15, 2012 3:34 PM

An appraisal commissioned by the East Hampton Town Board to figure out the value of a town-owned alleyway that bisects the Ronjo Motel in Montauk prices the 20-foot-wide strip at between $30,000 and $40,000.

The appraisal, conducted by Ronald Paradiso, the vice president of the New York City firm Jerome Haims Realty, Inc., appears to confirm the figure Supervisor Bill Wilkinson set when he moved to authorize the sale of the land to the motel’s new owners, Chris Jones and Larry Siedlick, on March 6. When asked where he got the number, Mr. Wilkinson, a Republican, replied at the time that he had “plucked it out of the air”—a phrase that lit a political fuse and prompted a sharp reaction from Democrats, who demanded the town conduct an appraisal before selling the land. Nonetheless, the sale was authorized by a majority vote, with Republicans Mr. Wilkinson, Councilwoman Theresa Quigley and Councilman Dominick Stanzione approving the resolution. Democratic Councilwoman Sylvia Overby and Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc opposed the resolution.

Because it called for the sale of town property, the resolution was subject to a permissive referendum, and the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee spearheaded a petition drive to force a referendum on the sale. At the same time, they supplied an appraisal of the land that valued the property at $184,000. The owners of the property supplied their own independent appraisal, claiming it was worth only $22,500. On April 17, the Town Board reversed course and unanimously approved its own appraisal.

Last month, after Town Clerk Fred Overton rejected their petition, a group of residents, including some members of the Democratic Committee, filed suit against the town in an attempt to overturn Mr. Overton’s decision.

“What is the cost of all these delays?” Ms. Quigley said on Monday. “In the end the number turned out to be almost exact, and yet we delayed three, four months.”

But Democrats this week questioned how the New York City appraiser was selected, and Mr. Van Scoyoc said there were issues with the way the appraisal was conducted. Jeanne Frankl, the chairwoman of the Town Democratic Committee and one of the individuals listed on the lawsuit, pointed out that the resolution approving the appraisal was flawed in that it didn’t list who the appraiser was. The appraiser was selected by Ms. Quigley—a point that Ms. Frankl also questioned.

“In the first place, we thought it was odd that they passed a resolution to get an appraisal that didn’t have the name of an appraiser of it,” Ms. Frankl said. “Second of all, the Town Board should have voted for an appraiser. And third of all, it was curious they went to an out-of-towner no one’s heard of.”

Mr. Van Scoyoc said the appraisal is in part based on the assumption that there’s no permitted uses on the alleyway—something he believes is inaccurate. He also said he felt the appraisal wasn’t an “independent analysis” because it “relied too heavily on the information supplied” in the other two appraisals.

Ms. Quigley rejected any implications of impropriety in selecting the appraiser, noting that the board voted unanimously to select someone who belongs to the Appraisal Institute, a global network of professional appraisers. Jerome Haims Realty, Inc. is on that list, she said.

The company’s appraisal is broken down into three categories: a minimum sale price, a maximum sale price and a final market value conclusion, according to a copy obtained from the Town Clerk’s office. It states that at a minimum, the value of the land is $12,390. At a maximum, the value of the land is $72,275. The final market value, as of April 28, should be somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000, it states.

“…It would be misleading to call the midpoint of $42,332 market value, since it would not be generated by market forces and does not consider who has the better position in the negotiation of the two parties,” Mr. Paradiso stated in the appraisal report. “Therefore, it is my opinion that the subject property ‘Alleyway’ would be valued at the lower to middle end of the range, considering that the owner of the motel does not have to purchase the alleyway, since they would still be able to develop their land, assuming that it was vacant, or continue to operate the existing motel.”

Ms. Quigley said she wasn’t sure what the next step would be now that the appraisal has been submitted. The Town Board was expected to discuss the appraisal at its work session on Tuesday. Ms. Quigley invited the appraiser to present the findings, she said on Monday.

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that Wilkie is clairvoyant I tell you.
By harbor (336), East Hampton on May 16, 12 8:48 PM
He just seems to be quite intelligent, professional, and experienced. I'll take an experienced, effective manager with an edge over a glad handing politician any day of the week. I wish we had one running the Southampton Town government.
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on May 19, 12 8:24 PM
Are the Dems going to reimburse the town for the cost of dealing with their bogus petition, legal action, etc.? Shouldn't people who play politics with government operations at taxpayers expense be responsible for paying for that irresponsibility?
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 20, 12 4:45 PM
As I have pointed out on another thread, the estimate herein is only valid assuming that no one but the Ronjo developers want to buy the parcel. That is NOT a given. The petition and the appraiser's response have properly raised the question of whether the alleyway should be put up for bid. That procedure would be truly determinative of its value.

Regardless of the final outcome, we thank the petitioners for shining light on yet another instance of arrogant misfeasance by the Republican ...more
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on May 21, 12 1:11 PM
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 9:32 PM
to connwatcher:

The object of the investigation is to see if there was mis/malfeasance by Wilkinson and/or Quigley and/or Cohen and/or Overby, not just the ones you don't like.

If the political chest-beating by both sides results in ANY legal action I will be surprised.

Finally, had Wilkinson not been such an arrogant, insensitive boob, this contretemps would never have occurred.
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on May 23, 12 12:09 AM
Say you, HHS, don't worry ... the Dems will come up with another one for you to hang your oversized one on soon so you can continue to jump on the bandwagon and concentrate on a "non-political" personality vs. real issues that have to be addressed for EH residents (not Quogue's - talk to your neighbors there) Hmmm ... perhaps you were fired from Disney way back ... that could be the only plausible explanaition for your continued phsychobabble.
By Board Watcher (522), East Hampton on May 23, 12 5:17 PM
I think my last comment was taken down because it referred to an article in the Independent that exposes the Democrats conspiracy to use public office to pursue political gains. To HHS let me tell you that Overby and Cohen and some of the other Dems are THE ones being investigated. Wilkinson and Quigley are not on the radar because it was Overby that attempted to intimidate the Building Inspector - according to the Building Inspector based on what I am hearing from 300 Pantigo, and it was Cohen ...more
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 23, 12 6:11 PM
to Board Watcher:


to connwatcher:

More castles in the air. When an actual litigator is asked about the possibility of legal action, he will inform whoever asks him that he can spend his money if he wishes but the outcome will be unfavorable. The notion of the DA becoming involved is particularly risible.

Moreover, you assume that there is no substance to Cohen's assertions although there has been no finding to date. If Cohen is correct, there has been ...more
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on May 24, 12 11:43 AM
HHS - I'd like to hear your hypothesis and overinflated sense of "neighborliness" expound on what you think should happen if Cohen's assertions are entirely false .... I suppose, somehow, you could even that around to make it Wilkinson's fault! You, who have probably never even been to Montauk, are hysterical!
By Board Watcher (522), East Hampton on May 25, 12 11:11 AM
Connwatcher has heard exactly what I have heard. There is NO validity to Cohen's assertions - NONE. Why else would the Independent's editor write the story that makes their previous stories by a different reporter look like a bunch of BS based on hearsay? There is a lot going on here. And don't you think that the Building Inspector has supplied information to the DA? I would hazard to guess that information originating with the Building Inspector is what led to Overby's and Cohen's call from ...more
By settherecordstraight (16), springs on May 24, 12 6:23 PM
HighHat is in a fantasy world. Zach Cohen's assertions are totally baseless. Thus the Independent article to cover its rear. The Democrats on the Town Board were in co-hoots with Cohen and Frankl and Kloppman and others. That is bad stuff. You have Dem elected officials using their elected positions to advance the interest of their political party by abusing town staff and intimidating the building inspector. Watch the town board meeting from last week when Overy says she has a food wagon ...more
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 24, 12 9:32 PM
to settherecordstraight:

You may have "heard" that the investigation doesn't include Wilkinson and Quigley but you have heard it from the EH Republican Tag Team. They bat apocryphal tales back and forth like shuttlecocks, magnifying them in their own minds with each comment. Neutral observers are aware, however, that they are playing with themselves.

Here's what The Independent actually has to say about the DA's investigation,

"Two weeks ago town attorney John Jilnicki ...more
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on May 25, 12 2:13 AM
I don't know about indictments - there is no grand jury empaneled yet according to sources, but believe me, and you can spin this anyway you want, the information from people very close to what is happening is that it was the building inspecotor who charged harassment and interference against Overby and has already stated the Cohen letter is untrue. That information was the result of Jilnicki's letter. Upon receiving the Jilnicki letter the DA's first move would of course be to interview the building ...more
By settherecordstraight (16), springs on May 25, 12 9:59 AM
By the way the DA does not need to empanel a new grand jury. He can use one of the three sitting grand juries to present whatever is found on the Ronjo mess and obtain indictments or write a grand jury report that lays out the entire mess. Either action will be devastating to the Democrats because believe me there was a coordinated effort to use the Ronjo project to make political gains and that intimidation and illegal petitions were used to pursue this goal. I hope the DA looks at all those ...more
By settherecordstraight (16), springs on May 25, 12 10:04 AM
"Round about the caldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.—
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,
. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble." + *

[ + Invocation preceding meetings of the EH Republican Tag Team]

The reactionary right is tireless in ...more
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on May 25, 12 12:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Here is the reality HHS. The Town Building inspector was questioned on whether he was pressured by town attorneys and the Ronjo applicants to break the law as the Cohen letter stated. His answer was no. In fact he apparently went on to say that it was Overby who was pressuring him to scuttle the Ronjo project and it was she who was exerting improper influence to act inappropriately. Hence Overby, Cohen and Woflshun got called in by the DA who is investigating what really occurred - not some ...more
By settherecordstraight (16), springs on May 26, 12 11:09 AM
to settherecordstraight:

You have taken appropriate, or innocent, or, at the very least, non-actionable behavior and conflated it by repetitive gossip into a gigantic hot air balloon of expectation. One hopes, when that balloon comes crashing to earth, that you will learn the lesson that zealotry and rationality are antithetical.

A suggestion, however, your copy is becoming stale. Why not introduce allegations of sexual impropriety, a given of most political "scandals"? I'm ...more
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on May 27, 12 11:40 AM
About the only thing HHS can do at this point is try to joke about the very likely illegal mess created by the Democrats who have put themselves in the cross hairs of the DA. And it is not only this bogus issue. There are others - thus the reference in the Independent article to the fact the DA was already poking around. Some of it certainly relates to the cozy relationship between Democrat "community" activists and some things done by the McGintee people in coordination with those Democrat party ...more
By settherecordstraight (16), springs on May 28, 12 1:24 PM
2 members liked this comment
From the Penal Code

§ 195.05 Obstructing governmental administration in the second degree.
A person is guilty of obstructing governmental administration when he
intentionally obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law
or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a
public servant from performing an official function, by means of
intimidation, physical force or interference, or by means of any
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on May 27, 12 4:39 PM
Baseless rumor STILL doesn't become fact with repeated assertion. Your charges are specious but, even if your defamatory assertions were true, no actionable behavior occurred.

The same cannot be said of the charge that Wilkinson and Quigley colluded clandestinely and illegally to promote the Ronjo project.

The finale of this drama had better transpire soon, for your sakes. If you should begin to view the rest of reality through the same fantastical prism that you employ for local ...more
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on May 28, 12 2:42 PM
Defamatory assertions? I and others have simply pointed out the facts in the Independent article : 1) Overby and Cohen were called to DA for serious questioning; 2) the appraisal issue has been proven bogus and a political charade; 3) Cohen's letter was exposed as a fabrication by the Building Inspector.

The drama has transpired. The Democrats have been caught in a political charade so egregious that the DA has called in elected officials to answer for their actions according to the ...more
By settherecordstraight (16), springs on May 28, 12 6:13 PM
to settherecordstraight:

Your most recent comment is pure puerile casuistry. We STILL do not take your fantastical unsubstantiated constructions and misconceptions of reality to be fact, although we are glad to see that you appear to have given up the delusion that the DA will ever validate them with indictments.

While you exult in the supposed "political disaster" for EH Democrats, the truth is that this perception exists only in your own mind and in the minds of your reactionary ...more
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on May 29, 12 1:23 AM
This blogger High Hat is obviously someone who does not get it. I guess we should just wait and see where this goes. I would say Wilkinson and Quigley have nothing to worry about. Others? I guess it depends on what worries someone. Bad press? Exposure? A civil lawsuit? An investigative report? Again, I guess it depends on what worries someone. Cheers.
By ronjoeknows (4), Montauk on May 29, 12 8:54 PM
to ronjoeknows:

" I guess we should just wait and see where this goes."

I could not agree with you more. One hopes, though, when absolutely nothing substantive is established, that the reactionaries will not initiate an entirely new round of fanciful gossip attributing the lack thereof to another evil Democratic cabal.
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on May 29, 12 10:44 PM
Substance has been established. When the Building Inspector testified he was intimidated by a Democratic Town Board member to act in an inappropriate way you have more than substance, you have abuse. That has been established. Where that goes from here will be interesting. In any case the intimidation has already happened and the inappropriate behavior has already taken place - that will never go away or be forgotten. Try as he/she may, High Hat cannot change what has already happened, only pathetically ...more
By ronjoeknows (4), Montauk on May 29, 12 11:19 PM
to ronjoeknows:

Oh, for pity's sake, the building inspector acts under the authority of the Town Board. Oversight of his performance is a duty of the office. If a board member suspects that the inspector has behaved improperly, it is incumbent upon him to notify the inspector of his suspicion and demand an explanation. To stand mute would be dereliction.

That's the objective view of what transpired. The "pressure", to use your loaded word, was an appropriate demand of accountability, ...more
May 30, 12 12:18 AM appended by highhatsize
Correction: you called it "intimidation" rather than "pressure", an even more tendentiously inappropriate appellation.
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on May 30, 12 12:18 AM
Oh for pity's sake, read Section 195.05 of the Penal Code above. It was written to address the exact situation described in last week's Independent article. It was not a demand for an explanation, it was an inquisition by all accounts around town hall. Besides, if Overby suspected improper behavior why didn't she go the the inspector's boss? Why didn't she go to the town board or the town attorney which she obviously did not based on the article? She went directly to the inspector and tried ...more
By settherecordstraight (16), springs on May 30, 12 1:04 AM
Just looked at the Independent online and as expected not one word from Overby, Cohen, Frankl, Klopman, Mazur or any of the rest. If the article in last week's Independent was incorrect or off base the local Democrats would have jumped all over it as they always do. Where is the denial or correction by Overby? if she was not questioned by the DA you can bet there would have been a letter protesting the article. If Cohen wasn't grilled by the DA and thought his original letter was true he would ...more
By settherecordstraight (16), springs on May 30, 12 12:50 AM
Cheers!!!! Many times over.
By ronjoeknows (4), Montauk on May 30, 12 12:17 PM
As an outside observer I would say that based on what I read in the East Hampton Independent last week, and the lack of any rebuttal whatsoever from the Democrats in today's newspaper, that the article by Editor Rick Murphy laying out the activities of the District Attorney and what is being claimed by the East Hampton Town Building Inspector is pretty damning.

A Town Board member should never impose their will or authority of their elected office on someone with law enforcement authority ...more
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on May 30, 12 10:50 AM
You're are at it again. One of you starts drumming about Democratic misbehavior, then another picks up the beat, and then another, and before you know it you're all dancing around waving your arms and stomping your feet ecstatically.

Those who haven't surrendered their rationality to group hysteria can't help but wonder what the celebration is all about. Your recent comments repeat the same old baseless charges; your conception of real events is still distorted by the same old political ...more
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on May 30, 12 12:26 PM
I have noticed and so have many others.
By formertbm (76), east hampton on May 30, 12 3:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
I am taking notice of this fiasco. This is a royal scam perpetrated by the East Hampton Democrats. Ronjo owners - sue, sue, sue!!!!!!!! And High Hat states neither the facts nor the truth.
And High Hat is not from Quogue. I know.
By factsandtruth (42), East Hampton on May 30, 12 8:21 PM
Or East Quogue. Paid operative, zero credibility.
By factsandtruth (42), East Hampton on May 30, 12 8:23 PM
"Your recent comments repeat the same old baseless charges; your conception of real events is still distorted by the same old political ...more bias; and you continue to transform perfectly innocent behavior via the same old misconstructions." Oh. My. Goodness! HHS has finally looked in the mirror! It's hysterical!

By Board Watcher (522), East Hampton on Jun 1, 12 10:49 AM
I'm paying attention, and that counts for quite a bit in my book and others, fear not. I know the business community is watching closely as are all the Ronjo supporters in Montauk and the Suffolk County District Attorney. I believe people in the Town Attorney's Office who have been slandered are watching. I know that I have been called by people who are disgusted by the Democrat lawsuit filed against Mr. Overton, so they are watching. Don't try to fool yourself. There are many watching because ...more
By ronjoeknows (4), Montauk on May 30, 12 12:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
High hat size has really lost the plot here. I suspect one of us will be feeling pretty stupid this week, and I suspect he wears a large hat (clearly
Little connection to his insight on this matter). I hear from someone on the inside of this mess that it's going to be a bad week in the office from our democratic conspirors and collusionists this week. Since being called out "eh ranter" alias Silvia overby... Has gone all quiet! Come on miss overby- shed some light on things here. All BS or does ...more
By Andy P (19), Montauk on Jun 3, 12 9:16 AM
to Andy P:

If you are referring to a finding by the DA, that would certainly be a relief. Unfortunately, based on your performance and that of your colleagues to date, I am sure that you are NOT referencing any authoritative report. Rather, you will likely further assault our senses with more delusional nattering by EH Republican fishmongers about what they have "heard".

Nevertheless, even a public exposition by your people explicating their peculiar perception of reality would ...more
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on Jun 3, 12 12:18 PM
HHS- as I said one of us may be feeling pretty stupid. "My colleagues" -my colleagues are the folks I work with- and to my knowledge none of them have ever posted here, and btw - I have never voted republican in my life- so not really sure I your understand your point- for that matter not so sure you do either, seems like you may be a recently hired lone wolf, rambling in the dark.
By Andy P (19), Montauk on Jun 3, 12 8:44 PM
to Andy P:

Yes, I read what you wrote and, as I replied, any substantive finding would be a relief after all the rumor and gossip in which you and your colleagues (in the treatment of prejudiced assertion as fact) have indulged.

My point, which I though I had adequately expressed, is that one should base one's opinions on objective data rather than on the prattle of True Believers. Having professed your faith in the fable of a wide-spread Democratic conspiracy, you now expectantly ...more
By highhatsize (3565), East Quogue on Jun 3, 12 11:41 PM
Since the Independent story came out Ms.Overby and Mr. Cohen seem to have both ""Plead the Fifth" and made no comment that might further incriminate themselves. That's their civil right not to incriminate themselves.

Funny how some people can conspire to deny someone else's civil rights then hide behind those same rights in order to avoid prosecution. Ms. O and Mr.C will likely now try to create a diversary issue to smokescreen their unethical and/or malfeasance. Hope they look good in ...more
By MTK (10), Montauk on Jun 4, 12 5:08 PM
Ronjo folks would have a good civil rights claim for sure, as I don't think the federal law looks favorably on conspiracy by government officials against individuals. Any lawyers on this blog care to opine, but does not a civil rights claim trump an elected officials protection and can they not be sued personally on under ones federal rights? Violation of civil rights against an individual by an elected official pressurizing a government agency and or individual? seems like this is already going ...more
By Andy P (19), Montauk on Jun 4, 12 11:52 PM
The DA report came out today and it states that ALL of Mr. Cohen's accusations are "baseless" and "without merit." And that the accusation that the Ronjo owners received favors is also without merit.

Doesn't Mr. Cohen owe everyone an apology? And shouldn't all of the bloggers who added fuel to Mr. Cohen's lies also say "sorry."
By MTK (10), Montauk on Jun 5, 12 3:34 PM
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