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Aug 16, 2011 5:35 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Democrats Criticize Town Board For Performance In Napeague Beach Fight

Aug 16, 2011 5:46 PM

Democratic East Hampton Town Board candidates criticized the current Town Board this week for not fighting hard enough against an attempt by beachfront homeowners to claim ownership of a public beach in Napeague.

Supervisor candidate Zachary Cohen and Town Board candidates Peter Van Scoyoc and Sylvia Overby said that Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, a Republican, and his fellow Town Board members have not taken a tough enough public stand against the lawsuit, and have not adequately supported the Town Trustees in the legal fight.

Both the town and the Trustees are named in the 2009 lawsuit by the homeowners, in which they claim ownership of a 4,000-foot stretch of beach. Residents’ complaints about trucks crowding the beach and beachgoers leaving garbage spurred the action.

While the Trustees have hired an outside attorney, Anthony Tohill, to defend them, the Town Board is being represented by Town Attorney John Jilnicki. The Democrats criticized the board for not hiring outside counsel and for not “contributing one penny” to the Trustees to help them in the case.

The candidates also said officials could also announce that “all available options to retain public ownership of this beach will be considered at the appropriate time,” a statement they said could pressure the homeowners to drop their claim.

“The Town could be demonstrating, through statements and actions, far more support for the Trustees and far more vigorous renunciation and defense of this lawsuit,” the Democrats said in a press release on Monday. “Supervisor Wilkinson hides too quickly behind his claim that he cannot comment. Corporations and governments frequently comment on lawsuits. Comments could provide information and assurances to the taxpayers, and they can also be used strategically.”

At a Town Board meeting in April, Mr. Wilkinson expressed support for the Trustees and his belief that the beach should remain public.
In an email on Monday, Mr. Wilkinson also reiterated his opinion that lines of separation must remain between the Town Board and the Trustees, which have different jurisdictions and powers, and said Democrats were twisting the facts.

“How duplicitous and routine for this team to speak of legal interpretation when none are legally educated or qualified,” Mr. Wilkinson said. “We stand by both Tony Tohill and John Jilnicki. Does the Cohen Team understand jurisdiction? Does the Cohen Team value the Trustees of the town? Has the Cohen Team ever driven on our beaches, walked their dogs on our sand, and fished from our shoreline? This is pure theater.”

Mr. Wilkinson also criticized Mr. Cohen for what he called a lack of executive experience and for contributing to a 2010 budget proposal under the prior administration that he said was $9 million higher than the budget passed by the current board. Mr. Cohen said that he offered advice on only one aspect of the budget, involving debt service.

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Go back and look at the video tapes of the Town Board meetings. Cohen said he reviewed the entire 2010 budget with the former finance director and he said specifically he "proofed" the entire 2010 budget with the former finance director. He also said he knew where there was padding in the budget -- before it became apparent how badly calculated the 2010 budget was by Cohen and McGintee. He said all this at a public meeting on TV!! Now he is saying he just offered advice on debt service? What ...more
By formertbm (76), east hampton on Aug 16, 11 6:29 PM
The case is in court, folks - both the Trustees and the Town answered the charges - there's nothing the Town Board or the Trustees can do until a judge decides. Shame on these people for politicizing this important issue - shame shame shame. Oh I forgot . . . they have none. Perhaps Alex Baldwin can just buy it and let all of us poor folks use it once a week.
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Aug 21, 11 4:37 AM
Oh it's ALEC Baldwin (so sorry) - and SYLVIA OVERBY - the Conservators. You won't see them on the beach. That's what jets and homes in Florida are for . . . what a joke this ticket is. Laughable if it wasn't so scary.
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Aug 21, 11 4:41 AM
I watched the town board meetong on Thursday and the pro beach riding group wants the town board to adopt a resolution supporting the pro side of the lawsuit and to toally support beach access. The town board already has shown full support as Board Watcher states above. I beieve before the town board adopts any resolution that the Trustees adopt one first so that the town board can follow their lead -- this is more of a Trustee issue than a Town Board issue. I would also like to see all the Democrat ...more
By formertbm (76), east hampton on Aug 21, 11 12:43 PM
How true formertbm! It's comforting to know that if, heaven forbid, Sylivia or Rona were elected, they could just continue to walk there, isn't it? And if they were lucky enough, maybe they would invite the other Dem Trustee candidates over to their houses so they too could have easy access to the beach!
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Aug 23, 11 11:23 PM
Where is harbor, yes yes bub, phins, facts man, Elaine Jones, all of the Anti-Wilkes??? all for the PEOPLE?!? what? no comments?!? your "transparency" is about as genuine as this democrat smokescreen and you should all be ashamed of yourselves . . .
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Aug 30, 11 11:26 PM
I guess this one went over like a flat tire on the beach . . . what's next - the airport with David Gruber, the Dem Committee Treasurer, and Tom Twomey - the Dem financial backer along with Lathem - (Judith Hope et al.), Shea - "still-pulling the strings" Kelley Dems, and Alec baldwin and the Conservators fighting for "the little people" by backing former and current town planning board members Sylvia and Peter - and new-comer politician Zach Cohen? If I wanted to elect Alec Baldwin and South O ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Sep 5, 11 9:52 PM
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