Whose Side Are You On? - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1777809

Whose Side Are You On?

Early in Jim Larocca’s service as a trustee of Sag Harbor Village, we were notified by National Grid that the company was going to put the former manufactured gas site on Bridge Street up for sale. We met with representatives of the company — and were appalled at how much money they wanted for the property.

As a former New York State Commissioner of Energy, and as a director of KeySpan before it was bought by National Grid, Trustee Larocca knew the company and its senior personnel very well. I asked Jim to talk to the company, which he graciously agreed to do.

In very short order, Jim negotiated a five-year lease of the gas ball lot by the village, with a multi-year renewal clause. This protected almost 100 downtown parking spaces for our residents.

I was, to say the least, very grateful to Jim for his efforts, as was everyone in town who benefited from this contract.

We are now in the fifth year of that arrangement, which expires at the end of this year. In anticipation of this, some time ago, National Grid began discussions about the future of the site.

It ultimately decided to go to market and to sell or lease to the highest bidder. Out of the blue, a newly formed organization called Friends of Bay Street bid on the gas ball site. So did Sag Harbor Village.

But then something very strange, and very wrong, happened.

On June 29, 2020, Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy wrote a strong, secret letter to National Grid endorsing the bid by Bay Street to acquire the property. Mayor Mulcahy hid her letter from public view until several weeks ago, when it made its way into the public eye.

Incredibly, the mayor had secretly worked in favor of Bay Street interests for almost nine months! The question is why?

This blatant favoring of private interests with big out-of-town money over the genuine interests of the good people of Sag Harbor, conducted in secret, is both shocking and disappointing. It leaves two fair questions for Mayor Mulcahy to answer: Why did you act against the interests of the people you serve? And, truly, whose side are you on?

Sandra Schroeder

Sag Harbor

Ms. Schroder was mayor of the Village of Sag Harbor from 2016 to 2019 — Ed.