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Mar 10, 2014 2:33 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Judge: Westhampton Beach Village Can Tear Down Guldi Home

Mar 10, 2014 3:46 PM

Westhampton Beach could soon be rid of an eyesore.

A State Supreme Court judge ruled last month that the village could legally demolish the Griffing Avenue home owned by disgraced Suffolk County Legislator George Guldi, which has sat vacant and boarded up after a fire gutted it in 2008.

Mr. Guldi, who was convicted of grand larceny and insurance fraud, both felonies, in 2011 for his role in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme that targeted dozens of homes on the East End, remains behind bars as he continues to serve a sentence of four to 12 years in the Marcy Correctional Facility in upstate Oneida County.

Westhampton Beach Village Building and Zoning Administrator Paul Houlihan explained this week that inspectors would first have to examine the 100-year-old home before tearing it down to determine if it contains any asbestos, which would have to be removed prior to demolition. Once that process is complete, the village will put the demolition work out to bid, then hire a company to tear down the house and fill in the basement with dirt.

Mr. Houlihan said he hopes that process will be completed within a couple of months.

The costs of the demolition—including all legal costs—would then be tacked onto Mr. Guldi’s tax bill, Village Attorney Richard Haefeli said during last Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting. On Monday, Mr. Haefeli confirmed that Mr. Guldi still owns the home and that the Bank of America, which still holds the mortgage, has been holding off on finalizing the foreclosure process for several years.

Online records show that Mr. Guldi, who represented the South Fork from 1993 until 2003, is eligible for parole in January 2015 at the earliest.

His two-story colonial home at 9 Griffing Avenue caught fire in November 2008, according to a report compiled by Mr. Houlihan. The document states that the fire, which officials said was caused by an electrical problem, left a number of holes in the roof, and due to exposure to the elements, the Sheetrock and insulation pulled away from the walls. The blaze also destroyed the home’s heating, electrical and plumbing systems.

Mr. Houlihan noted that it was unlikely that the home could have been repaired after the fire, given the extensive damage, but the fact that it was left exposed to the elements for years removed any possibility of its rehabilitation.

In 2009, Mr. Guldi obtained a permit to demolish the home, but never did, according to village records.

Mr. Houlihan sent a letter to Mr. Guldi at the Marcy Correctional Facility on July 23, with the warning that if he did not knock down the “unsafe and dangerous” structure within 30 days that the village would hold a hearing on the matter or elect to bring it to Supreme Court. The village never received a response from Mr. Guldi.

State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Pitts granted the village’s request for a judgment regarding the demolition on February 5. Neither Mr. Guldi, nor the Bank of New York Mellon, also listed as a defendant on the suit, submitted any opposing documents, according to village officials.

Bakery Permits Approved
With A Stipulation

Also during last week’s meeting, village trustees agreed to renew the outdoor dining permits for various restaurants, including the Beach Bakery Cafe, and they also signed off on an outdoor music permit for the Main Street establishment.

But bakery owner Simon Jorna said he thinks it is unfair that the trustees would prohibit him from advertising the live music events that he has planned for his recently renovated establishment. As part of their conditional approval, trustees explained that Mr. Jorna cannot advertise any of the musicians in any way, citing concerns about overcrowding.

Other conditions of their approval require that the bakery only offer live music from 7 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and that all of the establishment’s sidewalks and parking spaces remain unobstructed.

“It’s a privilege that the board has granted to you and the other merchants in the community to allow music and/or outdoor dining and/or outdoor tables and chairs,” Mr. Haefeli said during last Thursday night’s meeting. “And when it’s a privilege, the board can impose any reasonable regulation that they want on it.”

Mayor Conrad Teller said the live music is meant to be entertainment for Beach Bakery customers, and not used as a means to attract more of them to the cafe. Mr. Jorna disagreed with that assessment.

“I don’t think it’s fair that you put a restriction on me,” Mr. Jorna told the trustees. “I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think it’s reasonable.”

He then inquired about the village’s plans, if any, to repair and improve the sidewalks and landscaping along Main Street. The mayor said the trustees intend to discuss those plans at their next work session scheduled for Wednesday, March 19, at 7 p.m., at Village Hall. Mr. Teller added that the board could eventually appoint a committee to focus on those issues.

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Mr Jorna needs to stop whining how unfair things are. Yes his building plans took a long time to approve and he did a great job. But personally if I lived on Main Street and had to listen to that loud music every Friday and Saturday I would twitch more then I already do. Take the accommodation and run Simone.
By realistic (470), westhampton on Mar 10, 14 7:29 PM
So Guldi could be out as early as next year, MacPherson got 4-12 in 2012 and could be out in 16.
As far as I can determine from the news coverage, the $82 million has never been recovered. I would assume its stashed offshore somewhere and these guys will be buying a 1 way ticket to that location as soon as they get out'
By smacw (240), New York on Mar 11, 14 12:15 AM