Sunday, December 30, 2007

Barely Legal in the Hamptons

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
-- Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
-- Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004)

Once again, the system of justice is being questioned in Suffolk County and in the Hamptons. While it is easy to hurl invectives and make wild claims of police misconduct and prosecutorial immunity in the face of grave injustices, no area harbors the huge amounts of investment for a resort community compared to the property tax influx experienced by the Town of Southampton and its host Suffolk County – and seems to care so little about civil rights.
This week, the New York State Investigation Commission, an agency that reviewed the Suffolk County Police and issued a scathing report of misconduct and actual criminal activity on the part of police and prosecutors, acknowledged that the Marty Tankleff case was under review.
From the inception of this heinous crime and wrongful prosecution to the recent attempts to prevent its re-trial, the Commission has advised that they will conduct in investigation.
Whatever the smarmy facts are that will be uncovered; the fact that D.A. Spota appears to have some personal interest in the case will be an interesting study.
Certainly, review of prosecutorial conduct and clearly unconstitutional behavior will come under more scrutiny if a Special Prosecutor is appointed.

This comes on the heels of the Cicciaro/White case, which will bring Al Sharpton to Riverhead on January 5th. The cast of characters involved in the trial, given the Tankleff fiasco, is just short of amazing for political junkies. Every church and religious group in the Tri-state area (not just African-American) will sign on and make their presence known. This, in an area that has seen very little in the way of demonstrations for the neglect of civil rights.

This sentiment will hopefully reach into the Town of Southampton, where business-as-usual indicates that those attorneys who do business in Justice Court need to be on the same “approved” list as the list which exists in the County’s “Halls of Justice” when it comes to dishing out sentences or dismissals for clients. The Town Attorney, the recently resigned Garrett Swenson, has been backed up by a cast of characters and a specially appointed Assistant D.A., -- who represents Spota's office in the Town court.
Lest we not be naïve, “approved” lists are also a fact of life in the Hamptons, where garnering zoning variances, contracts for Town construction, and, most egregiously, for plea deals or dismissals in criminal cases – for “special” friends of the D.A.’s office or the Town Attorney’s office – are well known but not spoken of in the Press.
Corruption, as NOT reported by the Southampton Press or Suffolk Life, is alive and well in Southampton.

This brings us to the Storm Troopers, known benevolently as Code Enforcement. With a rental law that is about to take effect January 1st, written hastily and unconstitutionally by Garrett Swenson, that brilliant legal mind who was reverently referred to by women in local government as “Heaney’s Neanderthal,” we have years of illegal break-ins (using badges and guns to implement the new disguised anti-Latino policy) to look forward to in our little nirvana – know as the Hamptons.

Whether Code Enforcement, a group of police who focus on housing violations – and who are allowed to carry badges and guns – are more like the Imperial Storm Troopers of Star Wars or the Sturm Abteilung of Hitler’s Third Reich, remains to be seen. The level of intelligence in this “rubber gun squad” (no responsibility for policing real crime) is hardly an issue. When you break into a house at 5 a.m., roust the tenants with “GIF US YOUR PAPERZ” the difference is moot. Can the rousting of Jews be far behind?
For police to break into a house, write up a code violation report about how many people are sleeping there and write a report about which smoke detectors are missing batteries -- in a million dollar house in a resort community -- AT 5:00 IN THE MORNING – can Kristalnacht cannot be far off. Jews, Blacks, Latinos, gays, New Yorkers, Democrats – lock your doors!

The Hamptons, for the last several decades, has been about who has been here longer. The potato farmers who had lived here since the 30’s resented the artists and summer people, until they sold their development rights for millions. The émigrés who moved to Southampton in the 50’s and 60’s had children who now have conveniently forgotten that Black people were being burned out of their houses in Hampton Bays in the 60’s and forced to move to Riverhead for safety.
Even summer people who bought homes in the 70’s have adopted an “I’ve been here since…” attitude.
Lots of cops and firemen from the city moved to Hampton Bays, lived in cheap houses and commuted to Manhattan.
Many in law enforcement and several prosecutors in the Hamptons are from somewhere else. It wasn’t the right wing politics. It was the power and the money. Don’t let anyone kid you about that. And, it was easy money.
While cops were being shot at in the South Bronx, in the 70’s, near where some of us involved with the courts at Probation and Parole on 163rd and River Avenue, linked euphemistically to Fort Apache (the police station) – Southampton Town police were arresting summer people for D.W.I’s – at two and three times the money.
While a drug arrest in the Hamptons consisted of the danger in taking an ounce from a blonde on the beach with her top off, Serpico was being shot in the head by corrupt cops on a Manhattan drug bust. The blonde-bust made lots more for his dangerous assignment.

The focus on civil rights, constitutionality and legality – not to mention prosecutorial misconduct – will now come under further scrutiny. The investigations by the State Commission will be thorough and extensive and there may be a Special Prosecutor, as there should be. But, the lessons from the last investigations that occurred in the 1980’s are that the same people are still involved in law enforcement. The same patterns have emerged.

When the investigators finish their work this time, the cleaners have to come in to do their work. If the investigators work from the “approved” lists and compare pleas, dismissals, contract awards, and special variances – things will change.

And, then they will move on to prosecutorial misjudgments and targets – and, those who implemented the illegal searches and seizures.
Only then, will the real lawsuits begin and spur the interest of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Hamptons Tidbits:

The Inn at Quogue recently sold for $8 million and one of the “principals”[who was the old man’s mistress] is being pursued – not for her charms, but for accusations of dipping into funds.

A rumor has surfaced that the Village of Westhampton Beach is seriously considering the purchase of the Dune Deck parcel on Dune Road for $12 million – carrying with it a tax arrears liability of $7 million – to expand its beaches. That's a total tune of $20 million.

One of the Integrity Party’s principals, Bob Olson, is an activist who was a moving force in the Marty Tankleff victory. Not only have he and Darren Johnson been successful in providing Linda Kabot with the margin that gave her victory in the Supervisor election, but also they now have established this new party as a major force for reform in local government.

Snow may be on hold in Riverhead, as the Riverhead Resorts vote is postponed until Jan. 2. In addition to residents objecting to the 350 foot refrigerated mountain, Mr. Sater, of Bayrock is once again a cause for concern.

Resident and
A.D.A. Leonard Lato, ensconced in the Tankleff case as well as the Nursing home matter which has been plaguing Spota’s office, has been “philosophical” about the recent release of Marty Tankleff, according to locals. It should be noted that Schumer and his bloated campaign fund is also suffering the after burn.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas Story – Schmucks ‘R Us

Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.
-- Charlie Chaplin (1889 - 1977)

Christmas shopping was much more interesting this year.

To instill some sense of responsibility in our children it is sometimes necessary to teach the young ones a lesson. Instead of using a toy for an hour and discarding it, this year we provided an interesting twist.

The racing car actually stopped working an hour after buying it at the toy store. There was no lack of interest in using it – it was just defective. So, instead of putting it in the closet and taking the loss, we drove to the store to replace it.
Granted, it was a week later before we managed to get there, but everyone was feeling proud that we were not just going to accept it and forget about it in the pile of other unused or broken toys. It was a remote-control car that was actually fun to play with. And, we were going to turn over a new leaf.

The fact that the sales receipt was missing, of course, made it much more interesting. But, hey, it’s almost Christmas! Surely, a famous chain of stores catering to children would be accommodating.

Dan, the manager who had no last name – since it’s Corporate Policy not to give out last names (giving you that warm, personal feeling) – looked at the remote control race car which was packed neatly in its original box and with a completely straight face asked for the receipt. There was none.
It was at that moment that we ceased to exist as humans.

Well, then, Dan explained, he could not help us. He walked away.
Expecting this, but not happy about it, we called out again to him and reasoned that the identification from the optical scan on the box, the identification of the exact date it was purchased, and the information about the amount that was paid – should be enough for him to at least be able to check his records and identify this sale. Was it not?

“Sorry” he said. “If you don’t have a receipt, I can’t help you.
“We have no records of cash sales. We only have records of credit card sales.” There is no record of cash. I was incredulous. This was now a learning experience.

“Do you mean that even though you charge sales tax and you collect cash, you have absolutely no record of this transaction? How is that possible?”
He looked directly at us, with an emotionless face that one could see he may have put on a thousand times.
Whoa, we thought. How many defective toys sold for cash could that generate income for? How many customers who pay cash have been down this road before?

This was really getting interesting. We have a batched out tape with – maybe, hopefully, some sales tax – that cannot be located or identified – for a toy that may or may not work – and no way to recover your money or get a replacement. There was no sign over the register that said, “We keep no record of cash transactions” or “Hold on to your receipt since cash transactions don’t exist.” Even better, “Sales Tax is reported only on credit card transactions.” And, I like the one that would say, “Please advise clerk if you’re going to pay cash. Her college fund is dwindling.”

“So, does that mean that we have to sue you to get money back or a replacement??” We thought, well even in Riverhead Small Claims court it would have to cost more than the toy just to get in front of a judge. But, he already had his answer: “You can do whatever you have to do,” said Dan and he walked away. He was well trained in “Corporate Policy.”

“Well, how do we speak to management about this,” we said – and he came back and pointed to two white phones (Khrushchev preferred red for hot lines. Hopefully, those had worked.)
One phone did not work and the other had a weird Verizon recording telling us that the number the manager had actually dialed for us, which was for “Corporate” was a non-working number. Apparently, “Corporate” phone lines were not often used.
Things were starting to get a little frustrating. Not unexpectedly, of course.
This was corporate America at its best.

“Riverhead Police” came the answer on the line.
The officer was actually helpful and said he would come right over – and then, he did. In less than 10 minutes. It was like we were on a movie set. People on the Customer Service line were starting to look at us like we were Alien Humbugs. Voices were raised, blood pressure was bubbling, faces got flushed, and there were uncomfortable stares. Some actually smiled sympathetically as if they had been there, done that, and had gotten the same results. What in the world were we doing, expecting to get satisfaction from minimum-wage workers who had been trained in “Corporate Policy.”

Except, that I was pissed. We had paid good money – in real U.S. Dollars – even if they are nearly worthless compared to the Euro now – and we had gotten bad merchandise. The value of those dollars had not depreciated THAT much in one week. The store probably had no idea that the toy was defective – but they DID know that the toy came from their store. They admitted that in front of the Riverhead Police Officer. I was eager to operate the racing car and show them how it stopped working. The battery was even charged, ready to demonstrate.

By the time the police arrived, everybody was staring at us and many were hoping that the offending ex-customers would be taken out of the store in cuffs for asserting their rights – or, at least the rights that one reads about in political novellas describing America’s freedoms.
It just wasn’t right. You pay cash, they know you bought something at their store and then they refused to acknowledge that they took your money.
And, they were condescending about it as well. Bet you that they would find a video of the transaction if I had lifted a $50 from the till, or tickled the clerk.

The “Store Manager” finally arrived and he told the police that the store had been threatened with a State Sales Tax audit for claiming that they had no record of transaction and that they had a “Corporate Policy.” After all, how did they know whether we really bought the truck?

At that point I was reminded of Jamie Lee Curtis in “A Fish Called Wanda.”
In her scene with Kevin Kline, Curtis is being attacked by Kline’s character – a second story man dressed in black – for calling him stupid – apparently a phrase he had heard before and was very sensitive about.
Curtis says to him: “Oh, I’m sorry. Calling you stupid would be an insult to stupid people.”

I thought, yes, this store manager is right. We could have been lying.
We could have tracked the purchase of people that bought that toy – followed them home and watched to see that it didn’t work and purloined the broken toy – all the while taking note of the day that it was purchased, or even better, stole the receipt for cash. Then, we waited a week and made a lot of noise about the fact that we paid cash, pointed out that the store could check the optical scanner information on the toy – and then called the Police over.
Or, we could have bought it Downtown on Canal Street from an Asian gang for $5 and had it completely re-packaged, and THEN drove to Riverhead to make $39.95 for our troubles. All the while planning to obtain the help of the Riverhead Police.
The possibilities were endless.

The absurdity of the situation was starting to dawn on Mr. Store Manager and he finally said, “Well if I had been asked nicely whether I would make an exception to ‘Corporate Policy’ I might have considered giving store credit.”

Without genuflecting, in my best supplicant’s voice, I repeated his words verbatim back to him. He was obviously thrilled by the lengths that I would go to in order to obtain satisfaction.
The Police Officer was satisfied and we were satisfied. Mr. Toy Store Manager was, well, resigned to making an adjustment to “Corporate Policy.”

Somehow, it seemed, it shouldn’t be so difficult to deal with a giant corporation whose real customers are just kids.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Raid Redux

It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.

Earl Warren 1891 – 1974) )

But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)

As many of us sleep, with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads, the Storm Troopers are busy preparing to burn the Constitution in Southampton. They are, and will be, breaking into homes under the guise of protecting its occupants.
Several homes in Southampton have recently suffered the same fate as Supervisor-elect Linda Kabot and her aunt - visited by the Heaney-directed Police – on orders emanating from the Town Attorney’s office. While Kabot’s aunt’s experience was mostly political retaliation from a Primary election point of view, the current plan is both a holdover of Heaney (who is still Supervisor until January 1st) and a last gasp of Garrett Swenson the Town Attorney and one of his underlings Michael Sendlenski – neither of whom would answer any questions about the lawfulness or wisdom of their illegal actions. The Storm Troopers are politically motivated by the need to silence any opposition to this new Town policy which is clearly unconstitutional.

It’s breaking and entering with a badge and a gun – to check for smoke detectors. With an order signed by a judge. Can you believe this?

Overall, what is going on is the bureaucratization of institutionalized racism.

It is driven initially by those local residents who have both fallen for the politically motivated hype of those seeking political capital (Heaney, Nuzzi and Republican Conservatives) – as well as driven by the belief that they are supporting “the law.” If we can’t send them back to Mexico, let’s arrest them and whomever harbors them.
Law-enforcement in the Hamptons is a cross between being “moral and right” and having the ability to punish those who don’t agree with you.
That’s the Heaney/Nuzzi way.

So, last week, another group -- Code Enforcement Officer Kauth, Southampton Fire Marshal John Rankin, and a few other characters (after investigation by private Detective David Betts working in the Town Attorney's office) – armed with a Warrant signed by a Southampton Justice Court Judge – broke in to a house on North Sea Road at 5 a.m., handed a Latino woman the papers and then proceeded to roam through the house looking for code violations. This well-coordinated effort found numerous violations, including faulty smoke-detectors and more people in the house than the code enforcers deemed suitable. Then they left. This modus operandi has been repeated numerous times recently.
Would it be safe to say that local residents and Town employees who supported Heaney have not had their homes invaded in the same manner at 5 a.m. with search warrants? To check for smoke detectors?
None of the conspirators in these raids would discuss who ordered them and what their real objectives were. If any of these conspirators named are misspelled, keep in mind that no Town website identifies them or places them out in the light of day. Nixon's "plumbers" acted in the same manner. When you consider the fact that
Marty Tankleff fought for many years to shine the light on Police and D.A. misdeeds, these characters understandably don't want to have to look over their shoulders in years to come as Federal lawsuits bring them to light.

Apparently, by their actions, they would have us all believe that the Building Department is either too busy, too understaffed or too corrupt to be trusted in visiting any property to double-check the certificates of occupancy that have already been issued which permits legal occupancy. Could the Town simply not send a letter to the property owner to arrange for an inspection of any property that had not been inspected within the last 5 or 10 years? And, then, apply the same standard and requirement to EVERY house in Southampton. Not just properties that are rented.
Are they not just as concerned with seniors who live alone and whose carbon monoxide detector may not work properly? The answer is simple – they would all be voted out of office if they treated others this way. And, would they do the inspections at 5 a.m. with badges and guns?
Of course not. That is because they’re not looking to make properties safer or protect immigrants – they’re intending to make the lives of simple hard-working immigrants even more difficult – in the hope that they will leave the Town. Or, they hope to intimidate owners into evicting the people.

Now, folks, let us remember that this did not happen in Venezuela, nor in Chechnya, nor in the good old Soviet Union, nor did it happen in Burma or Indonesia.
No, this happened and is continuing to happen in the Town of Southampton, right here in the good old U.S. of A. And, it could happen to you – if we let it continue. As a matter of fact, count on it. Remember, these guys don’t like New Yorkers, they don’t like Summer people, they don’t like people who share a summer house – and they don’t like the people who currently cannot vote but DO pay all of the bills. That would be YOU. They don’t like YOU. They only want your money. It's not pay-as-you-go, it's you pay --and then -- you please go.
Think about that before you plan on spending some time in the Hamptons next summer. Atlantic City, New Jersey may be a better choice. Come to think of it, so would Coney Island.

As a result of the fact that millions of undocumented Latinos have arrived in our country to work in jobs that Americans do not want to do, and the fact that the national government does not want to deal with the issue – our nation of immigrants wants to force the new immigrants out of their homes.
They want to put children out of schools, deny them medical attention and push people out into the streets or into the woods –- and harass them and harass property owners so that they will refuse to rent property to Latino people. Thereby, the plan goes, to force them back to their countries of origin – whether that be Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador or Panama.

In fact, Congressman Tim Bishop, not a popular figure among Democrats (although he ran as and is identified as a Democrat) met with some local residents recently and cited some interesting bits of information for those who were listening to him.
He pointed out to the local audience at a senior citizen’s center in Hampton Bays that 70 percent of this country’s agricultural workers are illegal immigrants – and that businesses have failed for lack of workers. Americans do not want to do the menial labor that the immigrants are willing to do.
At this meeting, which was intended to hear the grievances of local people, the issue of immigration was discussed.

“They have taken away the jobs of the American people, and we should be going after the people that hire them. I watch Lou Dobbs every night…” said Sara Jeanne Stephani. Another resident, Paul Forthmuller, complained that “My teeth are falling out and I’m a disabled veteran and they get more help than I do.”

Lewis Black would have a field day with those lines – and then perhaps remind these people that this country is entirely populated by legal AND illegal immigrants.
Lou Dobbs and Ms. Stephani should take a few lessons from Jesus Christ, and Mr. Forthmuller should write to Mr. Bush about his shoddy treatment of Veterans.

The answer for many is simply to end illegal immigration, put up a wall between Mexico and the United States (they are actually planning to do this at a cost of $6 million per mile -- no one seems to remember Berlin) – and, most important, round up everyone who is here illegally and send them home.

All fifteen million.

While we cannot solve the problem right here, right now – the answer is not to cut our noses off to spite our own faces. Or, as they say, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

But, here are a few realities:

We are either in or going into a recession.
Don’t believe that?
Okay, how about this, then.

Fact: The number of foreclosure auctions in Suffolk County are up 276% over the same period last year – and there is a nearly 50% drop in the number of properties that have sold in that same period. The Hamptons are part of Suffolk County and share these numbers but lag in the severity of what is going on. But, these problems are on the way, big time.
Even high end properties – the multi-million dollar ones that are selling – are automatically receiving offers 20% BELOW the asking price. That’s just for starters.

The current market in the Hamptons, according to many local brokers, is, to put it mildly, dead in the water. Where there used to be a two or three season sales market, there is now only one: from late February to April for rentals and March through May for sales.
It is a shortened real estate market. And it is a smaller real estate market.
Multi-million dollar mansions sell in certain locations like Dune Road in Southampton or the Estate section of East Hampton; $400,000 to $600,000 houses sell in Hampton Bays; and $200,000 houses sell in Flanders. Everything else is a hard sell and may not move for a year or two of difficult, active, open-house marketing. Finding a buyer for a million dollar 5 bedroom house with a pool on a three-quarter acre lot in Southampton is harder than finding a rent-controlled three bedroom apartment for $1000 a month in Manhattan. Brokers are laying off people and contemplating closing offices. Several have gone out of business or have been billed as mergers. The cell phone wielding, blue-tooth ear-pieced, Hollywood Star of the realty world -- driving a new Land Rover to her appointments with clients – is now selling soap in Woodstock. And, these agents left the Hamptons even before the sub-prime meltdown hit. The current situation is not pretty.

Speaking of which, the sub-prime meltdown has made home equity loans, refinances and new second home purchases practically non-existent. LTV’s have dropped, appraisal values have dropped, rates have gone up and some banks have pulled out of the mortgage market altogether. Citibank, WaMu, IndyMac, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America have all pulled back substantially. This has forced some builders to walk away from land contracts and default on hard money loans. It’s not a pretty picture. And, strangely, no one is talking about it yet in the Hamptons. That's partly due to the fact that they do not focus on the bigger picture of where we are headed.

To put it bluntly, the Hamptons market is dead except for the very big money and the small money. Everyone in between is screwed.
There is no liquidity and the adjustable mortgages are forcing up the cost of financing. Houses are now starting to be dumped on the market because they are not affordable even in a normal market.
The fiction about European buyers flocking to New York to buy with cheap dollars versus the Euro – is only temporarily true for Manhattan property. The European banks are stuck with our SIV’s and their banks and hedge funds are on their way into the basement as well. There is fear in the financial markets and clearly they have no answers as to how to deal with this crisis.

So, with this “normal” inventory balloon of unmarketable houses as we enter a serious downtown in the market -- what does the Town of Southampton do to help matters?
It creates an even more onerous market for sales.

To this flooding of real estate, the Town adds pressure on property owners by telling them that they will now not be able to rent properties. A new, draconian rental law takes effect on January 1st.
By harassing owners and threatening them with huge fines and arrest for renting to Latinos – under the guise of a rental law to “protect” tenants from unscrupulous landlords – they are now forcing more properties on the market for sale. If you cannot rent an investment property you have to sell it.
If the purpsose of a law is to make it impossible to rent a property, it must be sold or abandoned.

Since there is no affordable housing to speak of in the Hamptons and no multi-family housing, investment property had been he only form of reliable rentals. It became the affordable housing that the government would not or could not provide.
That too will now evaporate.

As the Constitutionality of the new rental law is challenged while those who object to racism and McCarthyism raise their voices, we must stand by and watch civil rights be trampled. Police operatives and its government seems intent on contributing to the demise of the Hamptons as a desirable resort community.
Jerry Seinfeld needs gardeners, landscapers and cleaning people. So does his architect and builder.

Does Cheryl Kraft of Public Safety do windows? Does David Betts do toilets as well as sell his private detective services to the Town in order to catch these serious criminals? Is Heaney planning to move his fence company to Texas?

And, more important, does Linda Kabot plan on cleaning house?

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Main Event

The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.
Joseph Stalin (1879 - 1953)

In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people.
Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

Predictability in politics is neither a good thing nor is it a rational expectation.
After the Kabot win in the Town Supervisor’s race – edging out Jim Henry by a few votes and putting Skip Heaney away with a few hundred votes – the Town Board will now be the focus of the political noise. Despite the calming effective attempted in the Southampton Press description of everyone making nice, things are not simply smooth sailing at the moment. Heaney's public temper tantrums during Board meetings and behind the scenes maneuvering are dragging Nuzzi along and making everyone just a little nervous. Sweet smiles and voices of cooperation are, in part, window-dressing, as they ready for the Main Event come January 2008.

Since Kabot won the race and moves over from Town Board member to Supervisor, there will now be only 3 Board members aside from her – instead of the 4 slots that exist on the Board in addition to Supervisor. Board members have a 4-year term while Supervisor is only a 2-year term.
So there are a few options that have some interesting ramifications.

First, Kabot could do nothing. That’s an attractive option because it appears to not be a political move. Of course, anything that a politician does is a political move – it just doesn’t always appear to be calculated.
Not appointing a replacement leaves the Board with Kabot, Throne-Holst and Graboski – and on the other side of the political fence is former Heaney shill, Chris Nuzzi.
Since Heaney lost the Primary to Kabot, and then the General election, that particular game is not over. Heaney has been giving Kabot a very difficult time at Board meetings while he is still Supervisor and she, still a Board member. Heaney is a sore loser; a petulant child in the parlor game of manners and, more importantly, the plan is to create enough trouble so that he is not out of power. The roots of corruption go deeply into local Republican politics -- and the possibility that the friendly law firms, political connections, job appointments, financial quid pro quos, and outright control of the money – including all of those New York property tax dollars and transfer tax multi-millions (Peconic Preservation Fund) -- which might now be out of Heaney’s grasp – is upsetting to him as well as the Old Boy network. Heaney and Thiele managed to finesse money into the PILOT program and now the schools also get to divvy up some of that Transfer Tax money -- with some cooperation from Spitzer.

Some of the Heaney bureaucracy is already being dismantled. Garrett Swenson, the Town Attorney, one of the architects (at least as far as its public face is concerned) of the Draconian and unconstitutional rental law that takes effect on January 1st – has already started circulating his resume.

The Code Enforcement bureau of the Police Department may have some new members on the rubber gun squad (the fictional squad whose members have been relieved of any authority) – and the Police Chief may be having a fireside chat soon with the new government after “The Raid” that targeted Kabot and her aunt. Too many Southampton Town officials complied with the order from Heaney and Nuzzi to break Kabot's shoes with that little arrangement – which the Southampton Press dutifully reported – in terms that were none too sympathetic. (Republican controlled advertisers intimidated for years by the Republicans were on the mind of the Loucheims, no doubt. And, the fact that Heaney had his hand into their editorial department also didn’t help Kabot.)

The same political targeting that made Kabot the brunt of the only real purpose of the new rental law – political targeting using the immigrants in Southampton as its raison d’etre – remains on the books. It certainly brought home to Kabot and other Board members what the real purpose was of that law which was enacted with her help. Heaney played upon everyone’s basest fears and retaliative fantasies and slipped the law in so that he could buy more votes and use the law to target adversaries.

So, by doing nothing, Kabot would preserve control of the government process with a reformer (Throne-Holst), a Republican with a sense of ethics (Graboski), and Nuzzi – the Crookhaven leftover from the Heaney days whose only current function is to disrupt on orders from Heaney. Nuzzi is likely to be spy and a quisling whose job will be to lay low and then to disrupt, not advance the needs of Southampton residents or non-resident property owners. But, temporarily he will appear to be a team player in order to confuse his adversaries and be ready to support Heaney's hidden agenda.

It may be a pleasant change to have a Board primarily composed of women who have, for years, suffered from the misogyny of the Heaney administration that was memorialized in the behavior of his right hand man, Garrett Swenson – known among female politicians as “The Neanderthal.”
This negative treatment of women has been a familiar strain among law enforcement – from court officers and Code Enforcement, to Police, and to clerical staff – for decades. The off-color jokes have barely been contained even after the election.

Well boys, time to knock it off. Unless you want to leave your equipment hanging on the door on your way out.

The second option is a little dicier.

The Heaney forces would salivate over an opportunity to see Russo appointed.
That mistake would put Kabot right back into the open arms of the old-boy Republicans and would be the nail in the coffin for reform. While it would appease the Party regulars and have Heaney dancing on Main Street, the Town voters would be screwed. While no one knows what Kabot plans to do, that would be a signal that Heaney is still calling the shots and Kabot is trying to buy peace. In other words, nothing will have changed – the whole election imbroglio would simply have been smoke and mirrors, a dog and pony show for the voters.

The third option would entail some new entrant, once speculated to be Ann Nowak, a close associate of Kabot’s and a Water Mill attorney who worked on her campaign. While that may seem to be a neutral decision, it is widely considered to be unlikely, given that Novak has stated openly that she has no interest in the appointment. Since she hasn’t run for office, the political, non-political denial is more believable than usual.

The fourth option is more interesting. Alex Gregor.
Gregor destroyed Heaney’s chance for a fourth term. He not only took out Heaney in the third party run for Supervisor by a few votes, he arguably made it impossible for Heaney to win the General Election by taking some of the Republican votes in Hampton Bays– a location that was strongly pro-Heaney. Gregor has a long memory and his treatment by Town government under Heaney was unforgivable. He was a whistle-blower whose only reason for making complaints was the health of the residents.
He is an environmentalist and an ethical politician who took on Heaney after being defamed over his challenge of Bill Masterson. Masterson is the Highway Department Chief who thus far has escaped the fate of the Crookhaven Federal inquiries, which brought indictments against other bid-rigging paving contract suspects. The well-known habits of bureaucratic functionaries, which brought heavy money into the coffers of the Republicans in Town Hall, was something that Gregor wanted to change. Obviously, Heaney could not let him screw with the money source -- and spread nasty rumors that prevented Gregor from winning.

So, appointing Gregor to the empty slot would be the right thing to do for the Town. He is well respected and neutral. He’s a local that wants balance. He is also someone that returns calls and answers questions. The people like him.

The last option involves calling a Special Election. She could do it with 90 days notice or she could wait until next November’s General Election. While Kabot may or may not know this, she cannot call the election herself but must petitiion the Governor to do this.
Delaying the decision brings criticism; not delaying the decision brings criticism. No matter what she does, she will be criticized.
However, the loudest criticism will come from the Heaney boys who will criticize anything other than Russo’s appointment.
And, then, they will criticize anything and everything she does – until Heaney and his allies’ gain control of the Board again.

Any way possible.

Unless Kabot does what any shrewd politician who takes control of power does.

When New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn first took office she fired everyone and started over with her own people.

Politics is serious business.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Shell Game

Once in the racket you're always in it.
--Al Capone

Politics is the only game for adults.
--John F. Kennedy

Next week the results of the Southampton Town election will be announced to the public. Of course, those of you who read this blog will already know what happened. And, you will also understand what to expect going forward.
First, Kabot managed to squeak through to the finish with 53 votes to win the Supervisor’s race.
Second, Throne-Holst won with roughly 200 votes; second only to Graboski’s winning “Independent” run.

All of the Republican Trustees were elected.

This is where it gets interesting.

This electoral process, a little dirtier than usual this time, leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
The first question is “Who controls the government?”

Well, Kabot presumably will find the three votes necessary to appoint her own successor so that when she moves up a notch to Supervisor there will still be four Board members.
Graboski will vote with her and then the trail grows cold.
While Nuzzi is a Republican, he’s a Heaney Republican, not a Kabot Republican. Heaney may actually have something to say about it, playing his hand from the grave, as it were.
Or, Throne-Holst, a Democrat, may decide to begin her career on the Board by being a team player. The decision, of course, depends somewhat upon who the appointment will be. The rumor mill has a woman who has reportedly been Kabot’s consigliere, as being her selection for that seat. This has not been confirmed.

Henry’s viability, of course, going forward, faces some questions. Those who know him knew from the beginning that he intended to win – and intended to run again even if he lost.
In truth, many veteran politicians had serious doubts about his ability this time around and greater expectations for the next round.
In fact, he did much better than expected in this election and only missed the gold ring by a handful of votes.
Republicans argue that if it weren’t for Heaney and Gregor, Kabot would have creamed Henry.
Democrats point out the fact that Gregor took votes away from Henry as well as Heaney; Kabot took votes away from Henry by challenging Heaney; and that residents would have defected from the Republicans en masse, had Kabot not been on the scene.
The truth probably is that Henry and Gregor deprived Heaney of a victory and that Kabot owes Henry as well as Gregor simply for running – and providing the voters with a choice.
Had there been a credible New York vote, had the voter registration and absentee ballots for such a move really been mobilized – Henry would be polishing his shoes for the swearing in ceremony.
But if you are really sick and a political junky, and are fan of Rubik’s Cube, here are some further confusing facts:

Gregor beat Heaney by two votes and Gregor took about 800 votes on the Independent line;
If they had gone to Heaney instead he would have beaten Kabot by over 200 votes;
Gregor beat Heaney but lost in the election;
Heaney would also have beaten Henry;
Kabot would have lost with only 32 percent of the vote but, instead, actually finished first. In any banana republic there would have been a runoff but here she gets to name her own successor and ends up with two votes on the board.
By running, Gregor won the election for Kabot, or more precisely lost the election for Heaney. Someone needs to reward Gregor for a great public service.

The Parties need to learn a lesson from this little joust.

In previous elections, the Democrats were dysfunctional. Now, some believe that the parties are equally dysfunctional.
Democratic candidates helped to support the negative rumors against Henry – which turned some of the Democratic women’s vote against him.
There was a split in the Republican Party caused by the Graboski fiasco (initiated by Zizzigate).
And, there was a plethora of dirty tricks initiated by Heaney and carried out by the Town Attorney Garrett Swenson (rumored to have been fired already by Kabot), the Chief of Police and the Code Enforcement’s rubber gun squad in targeting Kabot’s family.

Only the Integrity Party – the little known, but well-organized group of irregulars who focused upon the talent in this election – came out smelling like a rose.
In fact, with a margin of 53 votes, the official tally of 176 votes from the Integrity Party line, ignoring the Gregor factor – they won the election for Kabot. That fact will not be lost on the new Supervisor.

There’s a long way to go before consensus can be reached and real issues can be addressed.
We have the issue of outrageous taxes for homeowners, reform of the Town agencies to root out corruption and political favoritism to local attorneys and political cronies, and then there is the new Racism Law – also known as the new Heaney/Nuzzi Illegal Immigrant Campaign Law. Otherwise, known as the Rental Law -- taking effect January 1st.
Perhaps the issue of affordable housing will be high on the list of political actions taken. Now is the time for a hard look at small multi-family developments that will provide relatively inexpensive housing for local families, single parents, seniors and young workers.
And, when everyone settles down to business as usual, the new government will have to start dealing with the issue that may decide future elections:

That is the role of tax-paying property owners in Southampton Town government who, for the moment, cannot vote in local elections.

Stay-tuned Rangers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Raid

A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
--Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from
the government and I'm here to help.'

--Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004)

While the counters are counting, enabling New Yorkers and Hamptonites alike to know who will be the new Supervisor of Southampton, along with the Board Members who assist that person – it is instructive to review some of the tactics that have been used to sway the voters.
As the current numbers line up, without the paper ballots, Linda Kabot, the Republican has 70 votes more than Jim Henry, the Democrat. The incumbent, Patrick “Skip” Heaney follows both of them by between 350 and 400 votes and is unlikely to be able to win regardless of how strong he pulls with the 777 paper ballots remaining.
Rumors have Henry pulling closer to Kabot and despite the predictions by veteran politicians, someone will probably be heading to court to challenge the official results no matter who is awarded the victory.
Rumors that former Legislator, Attorney George Guldi will “steal” the election for Jim Henry have been debunked by the Republicans but both the Southampton Press and the Easthampton Star have, by the form of their questions, implied that he is controlling the vote counting process along with Neil Tiger. When queried about this, their only response was that together they have over 50 years of combined experience in the process of certifying election ballots.
So, it appears that we will definitely know who the winner is by the New Year.

However, “The Raid,” the shameless attack on Linda Kabot in this election is most instructive as to the level of corruption exhibited by the Heaney regime – along with the complicity of the Town Attorney, Garrett Swenson, the Public Safety office (Ms. Kraft), the Building Department, the Town Police, and the Code Enforcement officers – which shows all of us how seriously the almost comical incompetence of these agencies has been corrupted. While they could not enforce the laws on the books properly before, they managed to coordinate a clearly politically motivated attack fairly well.

Essentially, during the final days of the campaign, after Kabot beat Heaney in the Republican Primary, the Town Supervisor called upon almost every level of Town government to coordinate an attack on his opponent – for political gain.
The Town Attorney, Garrett Swenson, Heaney’s “Neanderthal,” as he is known mainly by the female politicians, had a Town investigator visit Kabot’s aunt’s property, Senior Building Inspector Fred Lang issued violations, and the Code Enforcement Police staged a raid supported by a warrant issued by Justice Kooperstein and instigated by Police Officer Badagliacca, who was unable to be reached because he was on vacation.
Now bear in mind that these people worked together to gather evidence and pull this stunt – in order to get a bunch of Guatemalans our of a few rentals units on the Wilkins property that they had known about for almost 10 years. It seems that what set this major machinery in motion was a report that someone set off a firecracker at some point in time.
So, get this, the entire machinery of government, such as it is, coordinated a Putsch – because there were too many beds in a couple of rental cottages.
And, for this, in a Town that talks incessantly about affordable housing but does nothing at all to alleviate the problem, they want to put the owner in jail for a year on each of 12 counts.
The fact of the matter is that we should all thank her for alleviating the shortage of cheap housing so that these people (who clean toilets and rake leaves) don’t have to live in the woods.

The wonder of all of this is that the Southampton Press reported this raid in an article whose headline says “Questions Raised Over Raid” and “Heaney says charges were not politically motivated.”
This is the same newspaper that showed its readers a front page photo of Heaney with a $1.5 million dollar check made out to “Hampton Bays Taxpayers” compliments of the 2 percent transfer tax paid by buyers of real estate in the Hamptons. It was a front-page ad for Heaney that was free.

Well, hello? Let go of Heaney, guys. He lost!
Time to move on with your “news” reports.

Heads need to roll at the bunker. Der Fuhrer is out and it’s time to request some resignations and reassign some of the good old’ boys, give the Chief of Police a loyalty test, move some Code Enforcement officers to the rubber gun squad, demote the Chief Building Inspector, and suggest that Officer Badagliacca go on another vacation.
Justice Kooperstein should reconsider the use of warrants to settle civil matters like evictions that are really part of the hidden agenda of racism.
Perhaps she was simply the Judge on rotation that particular week and may have been threatened by the Police State mentality that Heaney played to so well.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

High Noon

The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.
--Frank Zappa

While you're saving your face, you're losing your ass.
--Lyndon Johnson

Now that there are only a few days left before the showdown at O.K. Corral, the voters in the Southampton Town election on November 6th are having to weigh their options.

With four major candidates vying for Supervisor in this race, it requires a calculator and a thinking cap to weigh the options and evaluate the risks. Those of you from New York who have switched your residence to vote legally in the Southampton Town election, those residents who follow this blog and read the SoHo Journal, and even those who disagree but want to know what the loyal opposition thinks - read on.

Everyone else can hide in the corner and read the Southampton Press and Suffolk Life for their "news."

Independent and reliable calculations have the numbers on the election running like this:

Henry 32%, Kabot 29%, Heaney 15% and Gregor 12% with the rest undecided.

This goes a long way in explaining why the following unpleasant information has just begun to surface - and why it has not been reported in the local media. With the Southampton Press begrudgingly supporting Kabot (they actually support Heaney but have to show a good face to the Republican rank-and-file because she did, after all, win the Primary.) - Suffolk Life supporting Heaney (unsurprisingly, since Wilmot's kid runs the Heaney campaign) - with Gregor not getting any reliable media support (which bodes VERY well for him in the next election) - and Henry only getting support from news stories and other sources that tell an unpleasant story about Southampton politics under the current Republican control.

The wild card in this election is not Heaney any more, it's Gregor. He has been promised the Independent Party Chair by Frank McKay in Suffolk and his block of votes matters. His comment on all of this is that he is in it to win it. While many believe that his Nader-like position takes votes away from Henry, there is also just as cogent an argument that he steals the Hampton Bays vote, where he comes from, away from the Heaney territory and actually steals from Kabot. While Heaney can't be ruled out with a quarter million dollar campaign war chest, he is unlikely to buy his way out of the bad taste in people's mouths.

The most recent developments are Mike Anthony's (Democratic Committee) $25 million dollar lawsuit served on Kabot two days ago for her negative statements in the Press, causing her to pull a YouTube video considered defamatory and obviously actionable.

Of course, the Press dutifully reported Kabot's remarks and came just before the election. It resembled the million-dollar check ploy on the front cover of the Press when Heaney was seeking to buy the Hampton Bays votes.

But, the real issues for the Southampton voters are not this small town verbal ping-pong. What really is at stake is the level of potential criminality and corruption that has become part of the status quo. That's the Heaney status quo. And, only the voters can decide with the bathwater should go with the baby in this case.

Here you have a Republican Party with ties to a possible bid-rigging scandal involving Sandpebble, the largest construction company in Southampton Town - which has landed a string of building contracts including the Sag Harbor jail, the Southampton Animal shelter, the Westhampton Community Center, the Westhampton Library, the Southampton Village DPW, the Quogue Community Center, the Southampton Tax Assessor's Annex, and the Hampton Bays Community Center.

Sandpebble not only exhausted it campaign contributions in 2005 and 2007, but it has been reported that the owner, Victor Diaz-Conseco, required his workers to contribute to the Republican Party, who were compensated for their $500 contribution efforts. The question is whether this company is just another adjunct funding source to William Masterson's (Highway Department head) -- to award building contracts and paving jobs in return for huge contributions to the Republican Party.

Rumors of bid rigging by subs on some of the biggest construction jobs in Southampton have also surfaced.

Not the least interesting in the local hysteria over illegal immigrants has been the rumor that Marcus Stinchi, the Republican Party Chairman and owner of a local landscaping company has been a supplier of undocumented workers to Sandpebble on some of these building projects - that clearly have the smell of campaign contribution kickbacks.

Heaney knows, but does Kabot not know what Stinchi appears to either not know or does not want to know - where the money has been coming from?

This is an interesting question when we ponder the fact that we have a 51-acre cement plant and waste dump, Westhampton Mining Aggregates, Inc., located in the middle of a "core preservation area" in the Central Pine Barrens. The Town has known about this since 2003 and the leading law firm in Southampton Town represents this company -- and, surprise, surprise, are the biggest contributors to the Town Republican Party.

Has Heaney or Stinchi, or any of the Republicans discussed this issue.

And, has the Southampton Press asked about these issues and any of its debates, which were sponsored by them?

Does the fact that campaign contributions have also been coming in the back door from Feher, Sr. and Jr., Haney, and the Montecalvos, -- indicted donors who have been associated with bid rigging in Brookhaven. Have these donations had any significance for all of the Republicans now running for office - and have they rejected the party's seamy past?

This particular flow of cash is coming from Crookhaven - from whence Mr. Nuzzi, now on the Town Board, has escaped.

Recent articles dealing with the Heaney/Kabot war have focused upon the warrant-raid by the Code Enforcement officers and the Town Attorney's office under the tutelage of, what female politicians have called, "The Neanderthal" (referring to Garret Swenson).

This group of corrupt Heaney worker-bees with guns and badges even hit Kabot's aunt for not having C.O's on a property, which is a preexisting-nonconforming property.

Whatever the significance of suddenly acting on the legal status of zoning on an older property that is common in the Hamptons - it does point out how Heaney works in collusion with the police department and specifically with both the Town Attorney and Code Enforcement to effectively become the Gestapo arm of local government.

Under the circumstances of this Police State infrastructure, the question is -- do any of us want more of the same system that is in place - and whether allowing any of the Republican structure that has been in power for at least 10 years, to continue to rape the residents?

A Police Commissioner that is independent, a neutral Public Advocate that can review resident and non-resident concerns, and a clean sweep of the existing Town government structure may be the only reliable solution.

With campaign contributions coming from corrupt, indicted individuals, a tax reassessment that will now accelerate the flooding of real estate on the market (Summer rental listings are up 100% over last year and foreclosures have doubled) - coupled with the phony illegal immigrant stunts that merely play to local fears with a new rental law - all point to an economy that Heaney and his Republicans have pushed towards recession. Why? Just to get re-elected and keep the cash coming into Heaney and his Republican cohort's pockets. It's that simple.

Even Kabot has found that the local infrastructure is corrupt and responsive to a fascist state mentality.

Jim Henry seems to be the only rational choice for those who want change and who want the corruption bled out of the local government that has its hands in everyone's pockets. From residents with rental units to retirees with an investment property, to minorities and immigrants who need affordable housing - the heavy hand of the existing governmental structure with its corrupt structure of payoffs and campaign contributions needs to be cut off.

In the midst of this campaign mudslinging, as Heaney forces the slide of real estate into the abyss -- raising taxes and instituting a Draconian rental law ensures a new flood of properties will hit the market in the face of criminal charges and huge fines -- augmented by his huge property tax increase. All of this as the stock market is poised to go into freefall.

Boosted by the subprime mess instigated by Wall Street greed and misinformation by mortgage brokers about the products being offered -- the word on the street is that Merrill, Lynch is not simply $10 Billion upside down but that it is more like $50 Billion. Likewise, Citicorp claims that it has written off $3 Billion and hedgefund gurus are saying that it is more likely $75 Billion. Memories of JP Morgan and his bankers who gathered together to forestall a panic by rushing to the floor of the exchange in 1929 to "Buy, Buy, Buy" come to mind. Incidentally, the ploy did not work and the Depression lasted until WWII.

So, the Heaney push to force illegal immigrant workers into the streets by threatening property owners, real estate brokers, retired folks with a rental unit and single moms with an investment house -- like Kabot's aunt --- is just screwing the economy to get re-elected.

The Hamptons is no longer a small town that simply caters to a few rich individuals - it is a rich resort area that has the same microeconomic relevance to large cities with police forces, social service agencies and government accountability. As we head into more difficult economic times, partially due to the incompetence and self-serving financial corruption, it behooves all of us to sweep the office clean, not sweep the debris under the rug.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Lineup

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
--Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

As the Hamptons politicians start lining up for the big event on November 6th, it has at least started to resemble a real election. The cross-endorsement ploys of years gone-by are merely a bad memory for democrats.

After Linda Kabot and Nancy Gabroski were rejected by the party regulars who are controlled by Skip Heaney, the three-term incumbent Supervisor, and Marcus Stinchi, the Town Republican Party Chairman – they both returned to win the party Primary. Essentially, that split the Republican Party; and while Stinchi and the NeoCon regulars were bound to support Kabot, Heaney was still trying to pull strings to stay on the ballot, any ballot.

He's still running – hoping that there are enough conflicts to dilute the will of the people: getting him out of office. He’s returned, to the chagrin of many, on the Conservative line simply because he’s been hoarded cash donated by the various slush fund ploys -- compliments of Masterson and a variety of other bagmen with the help of Stinchi and the Republican regulars.

For the Supervisor race this years' election is shaping up with Jim Henry running as the Democrat, Alex Gregor running as the Independent (who beat Heaney by 2 votes), Kabot running on the Republican and Integrity Party lines and Heaney on the Conservative line. While Heaney would like to be the power broker in this race – which appears to be between Henry and Kabot, the truth is that Alex Gregor is more likely to be that person.

Gregor has been treated badly by Heaney and the Town of Southampton. He was a whistleblower who lost his job because was concerned more about residents and the environment than his own job security.

He ran for Masterson's position as Highway Superintendent and was defeated by Heaney's false and highly negative publicity. Since Masterson has used this position to milk the paving industry for cash and votes to support the Republican machine, it was necessary to hold on to that particular cow.

But Gregor, a Hampton Bays native, had a lot of support from residents. He ran against Heaney this year on the Independence line and beat the incumbent, albeit by only a few votes.

In Southampton politics the name of the game is how many lines you can grab in the voting booth. The more lines you have as a candidate, the better your chances are of winning the election.

Gregor, a very personable and straightforward guy to talk to, says that he is in this to win the race for Supervisor.

Although not said by him, even if he does not win he is likely to be the candidate who could be in a position to decide who will win this race. Although it is not certain that he voting block would support any candidate other than Kabot no matter what Gregor decides.

However, no matter what Gregor does, he will continue in Southampton politics and is a voice that both local voters as well as New York property owners can feel comfortable with. He is not a redneck or a racist and respects and supports the environment.

The Town Board race has two major candidates to be considered for the slots available – Anna Throne Holst and Nancy Gabroski. The others, particularly Russo and Drew are Heaney clones and, in fact, are running with him on the Conservative line.

Gabroski rejected the conflict of interest problem (at the very least) involving James Zizzi, a local builder, and was rejected by the Republican rank and file for this position. She's lined up both Republican and Integrity Party lines and is expected to win handily.

Throne-Holst, also a reformer, stands to take another of the Town Board seats – hopefully, helping to change the nearly misogynistic attitude by Southampton Town government "old' boys network." She has come out against corruption and cronyism and has spoken up about the hidden racist agenda adopted in the new rental law slated to take effect in January.

The current Board is comprised of Chris Nuzzi (a Heaney pal from Crookhaven whose term is not up), Linda Kabot (Republican running for Supervisor), Kenny (term-limited out) and Gabroski (likely going to be re-elected). There are two slots up for grabs and, should Kabot be elected Supervisor, there would be another vacancy in January.

If three-card-Monty or the run-of-the-mill Manhattan street corner shell game interests you, this will definitely get your attention.

The likely winners will be Throne-Holst and Gabroski, creating a Board with a new Supervisor, a couple of reformers and a Heaney shill, Nuzzi. If Kabot wins, we have neo-con Board and three reformers (assuming she controls the choice of her replacement). If Henry wins, we have a three way power game with Kabot, Gabroski, Throne-Holst and Nuzzi. Of course, it could be none of the above or exactly as described. Pick your horse and go to the race.

If Heaney buys the control of this scenario with the reported quarter million dollar war chest and the two newspapers he “owns” (Southampton Press and Suffolk Life), put your seatbelts on and get ready for the Feds to start reviewing Town records again. While they were around during the cell tower controversy, they haven't really visited in the Hamptons since Mayor Motz had his little problem with "ticket-switching."

Speaking of which, the Heaney Republicans have attacked Jews, Blacks, Gays, Asians and Hispanics (do you see any of them in Town government?), but now the Italians have even started to take notice.

Andrea Schiavoni, candidate of Town Justice who is running against Eddy Burke, been accused of NOT being Italian (compliments of Heaney helping elect Burke) -- and a local developer finally figured out that he's one of the un-chosen people in the Hamptons.

Seems that Mayor Motz, a Heaney buddy, is on the wrong end of another legal problem. Developer Rocco Lettieri had the nerve to sue Motz and the Village of Quogue for some unkind comments, such as referring to the Italians as "you people." The $25 million dollar Federal lawsuit is reminiscent of the kinds of comments coming out of Southampton Town Hall – in referring to Blacks with the N work, Latinos as "spics," and many New York Jews as "kikes."

There's no need to speculate as to how the ladies have been categorized – since several elected women have described the Heaney (and his administration's "Neanderthal") Town legal staff – to be disrespectful, misogynistic and crude. Call a female politician working at the Town Hall and they will confirm it, off the record.

It's not the kind of question that the Southampton Press is likely to ask.

In fact, Donna Giaconti, Heaney's Executive Assistant, was a reporter run by Shaw – it was the direct link to control of the Press by the Heaney administration.

The other "news"paper, Suffolk Life, of course, had Heaney's campaign manager plugged into their operation. No one less than Wilmott's son.

Nothing like an independent media in the Hamptons.

So, what does it tell you that with all of this control of the media, that Heaney lost the Republican primary to Kabot, lost the Independent line to Gregor – and is considered toxic dump material to the newly formed Integrity Party? What it does say is that if Heaney does resurrect himself by threatening or buying his way into office, there will be big problems in Town government.

Andrea Schiavoni, running for Justice Court against Ed Burke, is another reform-oriented candidate who deserves attention.

Ed Burke, a competent attorney and judge, has had many casting aspersions at his record of cooperation with the Heaney machine – not his knowledge as a jurist. The remarks about preferential tax treatment for his North Sea property, when compared to the disastrous increase in Town taxes foisted on us all by Heaney and his featherbedding cronyism are a real sore point.

Those who do business with the court speak well of Burke – but, often for the wrong reasons.

Andrea Schiavoni is a highly competent attorney with decades of experience in the courts and is someone who does not do "deals" for the boys. While that may not be good news for the Heaney sycophants and Neo-cons, it will be good news for local residents who need a night court (which has been mandated by the court system but never implemented) which Schiavoni is committed to – and will be good news for attorneys who depend upon the independent integrity of the Justice Court in Southampton – the busiest justice court in the State.

Deals are for politicians, not judges.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

To Vote or Not To Vote

Vote early and vote often.
--Al Capone (1899 - 1947)

Those of you who have been watching from the sidelines as the Heaney/Nuzzi team has been trying to get themselves re-elected may have noticed that a small monkey wrench has been thrown into that particular plan. Nuzzi is not up for re-election this year but his boss, Heaney, is.

Against the backdrop of corruption and favors-for-votes, the local electorate has started to voice their objections to their business-as-usual. While the Southampton Press and Suffolk Life have started to retreat from their almost slobbering support of "Skip" Heaney, there is still some indecision about how to treat either Heaney or Kabot. One reason for that is the fact that while Heaney lost on the Republican line, he still garnered almost half of the vote and still may have Independent Party line. That may translate into "deals."

Knowing Heaney, as many people do, he is busy trying to buy a position with that electorate behind him.

What neither he nor the other Republicans know is -- what the segment of the rest of the local electorate will do come Election Day in November. Many, many people, especially local voters, have had quite enough of the party that Lincoln would throw-up over. He freed the slaves, the Southampton Republicans want to put the immigrants in jail along with property owners.

It is difficult to tell what the rest of the 20,000 or so registered voters will do, as against what the less than 3000 registered Republicans have already done on Primary Day.

With the election nearing in November, the big question is whether the rest of the voters' revulsion of the Republican Party mirrors the revolution in the Republican Party in general.

This is where the candidacy of Jim Henry becomes interesting.

Kabot is a Republican who ran successfully on the Integrity Party line, as did Nancy Graboski - since their own party - which attempted to ditch them in an aborted attempt to support Heaney, rejected them.

Disastrously, that did not work and the Chair of the Republican Party, Marcus Stinchi is starting to circulate his resume. His landscaping business is probably starting to look like a better alternative.

Kabot and Graboski were known to be rejecting the old-boy network and entrenched corruption of the Republican Party. Despite the currently weak musings of the Southampton Press and Suffolk Life (since they practically drooled in lockstop at Heaney's orders), the voters were able to see what was really going on. The fact that the "news" being reported was driven by ad sales that Heaney controlled through the Republican Party, was not lost on readers who have never had much of a choice when it comes to journalism.

The Town Board is currently a muddied waters of candidates at this point.

The Heaney forces, including Drew and Russo are not out but dampened - with Russo having the better chance.

Russo is a local boy in his thirties who is an A.D.A in the Town and who came out of nowhere after hanging his hat with the Party and Heaney. He did respectably well, but ran behind Graboski.

Anna Throne-Holst is entering the fray now and is one of several candidates who will vie for the two slots on the Board.

Although another slot would open up if Kabot were to win as Supervisor -- she could then could appoint another Board member - presumably, of her own liking.

Jim Henry enters the field now as the opposing candidate for Supervisor on the clearly defined Democratic line. While Kabot still has Heaney on her tail, she is now the Republican candidate as well as Integrity candidate.

Henry remains the Democrats choice.

Henry now comes out center stage to permit the voters a clear choice.

That choice appears to be corruption with Heaney, cleaner status quo with Kabot or a different direction with Henry.

The wild card in this election may not be a candidate but a voting block.

New Yorkers have been disenfranchised and have not weighed in on local politics so far. One, because they have not seen a need to do so.

Two, because they don't have the right to vote.

No candidate has seen fit to mention the elephant in the room.

The fact that there are slightly less than 6400 property owners, New Yorkers, who have homes in the Town of Southampton and who could be eligible to vote is a serious reality. This, of course, does not take into consideration the fact that in addition to that there are also many thousands of émigrés from Manhattan who got out of town right after 9/11 who never went back and others who just decided "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." One too many parking tickets while dropping your child off at school can do that.

While they are not seasoned locals, they bring New York values and a lot of political baggage. And, they are not happy about many things that have been going on.

And, one of the things that have been going on is the institutional racism that has now spilled over in a codified set of laws.

That, namely, is the new rental law which criminalizes the act of renting your house without a permit. Everyone, except local cops, firemen and other favorite people, faces fines of up to $15,000 PER VIOLATION if they do not register their house with the Town as of January 1st. The Town wants to know who is in your house, where they work, what their names are, personal information about them and wants the landlord to give the Code Enforcement Police free access whenever they feel like doing a search and seizure.

The Constitution has been suspended in Southampton Town.

They also want the right to arrest you if you don't give them this right.

Since national policy eliminating the rights of immigrants was a failure, the Republicans decided to create a law that could, de facto, accomplish what they wanted - with a badge and a gun. Only this time, they set it up so that they not only could they fine the property owners but could arrest the tenants and homeowners as well.

And, in the process they could milk the real estate industry. Brokers, agents, management companies, national real estate companies - anyone, and everyone associated with the possible finding of a home for "illegal immigrants." And, all of this has been done with the money from property taxes paid by YOU - to use against you.

Heaney, the Supervisor, Nuzzi, Town Board member from Crookhaven, were solidly for this bill which they introduced - and, in fact, pushed it down the throats of the Town Board. Heaney managed this by giving out Preservaton Fund money in places like Hampton Bays for school taxes. Money that was garnered from transfer taxes on real estate sales that was earmarked for the buying of land for open spaces to remain un-developed.

Russo is on board with Heaney and supports the rental law.

The question is, where does Kabot stand on this issue. She is quoted in Suffolk Life as saying that she is against "Vigilantism" but supports the law.

Graboski, now a Town Board member who is running for re-election voted for the rental law.

Anna Throne-Holst, candidate for Town Board was one of the few candidates who opposed this law at the hearing where it was passed.

Jim Henry is on record as opposing this law and clearly sees it as a thinly disguised form of discrimination.

It may be time for New Yorkers to register to vote in this election and make themselves heard. We will keep you informed on the candidates and the issues.

But vote. Register and vote. Do it now.

Download a voter registration form from and mail it in - and, to make the process easier, request an absentee ballot if you have to which allows you to vote from wherever you are as long as you are outside the limits of Suffolk County.

Show up and be counted.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Calm Before the Stormtroopers

What luck for rulers that men do not think.
--Adolf Hitler

Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience and rebellion that progress has been made.
--Oscar Wilde

The perfect storm brewing in the Town of Southampton has three components that should upset everyone involved in this year's election for Supervisor and Town Board.

The inimitable style of current Supervisor "Skip" Heaney, who has until now escaped the attention of the New York City media - and instead has the attention and fawning fealty of the two major local publications like the Southampton Press and Suffolk Life - is finally managing this year to come into focus.


Because the combination of huge increases in property taxes; a Draconian rental law that threatens to imprison and fine rental property owners; and threats to the real estate industry in the Hamptons - have culminated in an election that previously would not have been so carefully watched.

The fact that slices of the tax assessed on all real estate transactions, used to fund the Peconic Preservation Fund (set aside to acquire land that will not be developed) - is being used for political purposes by Mr. Heaney -- is only part of the story. That particular ploy, of using money primarily gained from New Yorkers' investment property purchases, is only the tip of the iceberg.

He buys votes from heavily weighted voting communities like Hampton Bays - where bold ploys like promising them big school tax gifts from the Preservation Fund - and then he bites the hand that feeds him by aiming the gun barrel at property owners who pay the bills and the taxes in the first place.

Those whom Heaney has targeted are investors, New Yorkers, rental property owners, non-voting property owners, residents with rental properties, senior citizens with auxiliary apartments, single parents with income apartments or units, and real estate companies who rent or manage real estate for clients. The real estate companies, especially, are being targeted since it is the main business and source of income for the entire Hamptons economy. Sales agents, brokers and national real estate companies will now be the new cow which Heaney and Nuzzi will try to milk using Gestapo tactics.

In the attempt to retain control of the Town of Southampton, an acquiescent Town Board has passed a law that potentially targets everyone having anything to do with local real estate. That includes the Real Estate industry itself.

While companies like Corcoran are not yet feeling the heat, the new rental law is aimed at them just as seriously as it is at small local companies. Clearly Heaney and the Town are targeting smaller companies to test their strength before they work their way up the food chain.

The fees and fines, both civil and criminal, are aimed at milking the industry by making anyone and everyone involved in renting a property - the target of the Code Enforement Police in Southampton Town.

So, the assault on the Hamptons Real Estate industry may be underplayed by Heaney & Co., as the election rolls around but the effects of the new law going into effect on January 1st are unmistakable.

Real Estate agents and brokers, management companies that handle rental properties, individual owners, attorneys representing landlords or owners and other professionals that are associated with real estate will all be affected. Individuals will be targeted by the Storm Troopers - depending upon whether one is a friend of Heaney (a Code Enforcement hands-off) or a foe (no Get Out Of Jail Free card).

This is a law that aims to do two things:

A. to complete a campaign pledge to eliminate the "Latino problem" by fulfilling a promise to certain Conservative Republican supporters from his hometown in Hampton Bays (where he also has promised Peconic Preservation money), and;

B. raise significant amounts of money by taxing the real estate industry with the threat of criminal sanctions if they don't cooperate.

Here's how all of this works.

The illegal immigrants came to the Hamptons because of the need for cheap, pliable labor. Guatamalens, Equadorians, Costa Ricans, Mexicans, and other Latino workers do most of the landscaping and menial chore work in the Hamptons and need education, health care and housing.

But, housing in the Hamptons has never been cheap. For decades there have been discussions by local politicians about how to provide housing for local residents that they can afford.

The expedient political answer has always been simple - slow down multiple family projects until there's enough money under the table; and, make the zoning so difficult that developers throw their up hands and go away if they can't hire the right (nod-nod, wink-wink) local law firm to get the application approved - or pass enough money under the table at Town Hall.

Typically, multi-family housing projects are a three to five year pursuit - and that's just for the approval.

How successful has multi-family housing been? Most professionals don't remember the last apartment house being built in Southampton.

So, affordable housing has never been a realistic objective. If anything, it has been the source of graft -- but, never a source of housing.

The last lottery for inexpensive single family housing that was built -- mysteriously had a high number of winners who were related to the Supervisor.

The solution found by Latinos and other summer workers (as well as many Summer renters) in the expensive Hamptons housing market became the sharing of housing. People would share expenses and shelter and live as a family. It became the solution to the non-existent affordable housing situation in the Hamptons.

Many rented brand new homes or well-kept older homes. A few rented housing that needed work. Some properties actually needed repairs and maintainence work to be considered safe and habitable. Even fewer properties should not have been rented at all because of their condition.

However, there were laws on the books about noise, parking, garbage, illegal property conditions and zoning violations. These laws were selectively enforced but took too much time to rectify because the Code Enforcement Officers were too busy operating on a "Targeting" agenda. Since Code Enforcement was always a political unit, there was never a need to hire enough people to actually check property and issue notices to correct problems. It was always a unit used to target people, not correct problems. Notices were never used -- only criminal summonses were issued. Get the point?

The Code Enforcement Police were mainly used to target political enemies of Heaney and to satisfy people who wanted Latinos or Summer renters removed from their neighborhood. Proper notification of problems legitimately needing to be corrected and enforcement of the laws on the books took too long and was messy. The dubious constitutionality of targeting certain groups like Gays, Jews, Latinos or Blacks was always a contributing agenda. Which brings us to the situation at hand.

The Final Solution became the Heany-Nuzzi plan to additionallly target the Real Estate industry in order to make everyone involved in the housing process a likely target of criminal prosecution - and FINES. Really BIG fines.

Investigations have shown that the initial phase of that plan is already being implemented. Certain small real estate companies in the Hamptons are now being targeted by the Code Enforcement Police as Heany nibbles at the edges of where the money comes from. The new rental law which allows searches and seizures, warrants and arrests and multiple court appearances with heavy fines is the culmination of the assault on Latinos and on the Real Estate industry. Always follow the money.

Real Estate agents and brokers are now being named in criminal summonses and must appear in court under threat of arrest - if Heaney & Co. suspects that Latinos, Summer people, Gays, Jews, or Blacks are gaining access to housing in areas where his political cronies live. Shades of Guantanamo Bay?

These are the initial moves which has now been signed into law -- before they climb up the food chain of the Real Estate world to where the big money is located. With fines of $3,000 to $8,000 and much higher per violation, per property - you can see the handwriting on the wall.

Napoleon used to conquer for the specific purpose of pillaging and expropriating money to shore up the bankrupt French Republic. It's the same plan -- using the Latinos as an excuse to invade and holding property owners as the hostages.

The fact that this law would all but exempt certain kinds of local fire, police and EMS workers - by virtually eliminating fines to them for their rental property violations - only shows who this vote-getting ploy is really aimed at--non-resident property owners, New Yorkers, Real Estate brokers and agents -- and professionals in the Real Estate industry. In other words - where the money comes from that funds the entire East End.

This law is unconstitutional and it is an illegal and disgraceful example of anti-Latino, anti-Gay, anti-Black, anti-New Yorker, anti-Real Estate industry vote-getting. But, Heaney and Nuzzi have manipulated the local media into making people believe that they are concerned with the welfare of the people they are actually attacking. The ploy is that this law is about protecting tenants from unscrupulous landlords -- you know, those people who rent houses below THEIR cost in an area that will not permit multi-family housing to be built.
It is also a poorly kept secret that the Town sanctioned Section 8 program provides below market income for properties, provides no protection to landlords and often leaves the property destroyed by the tenants who had no investment in the property they occupied.

Heaney and Nuzzi claim that this law is meant to protect poor working people who have rented substandard housing. Do you understand this? Let's review this again.
After running on a campaign pledge which screams out that they will rid the Hamptons of Latinos (illegal immigrants is the buzzword)-- he wants to pass a law to PROTECT THEM! How? By attacking landlords who rent to them.

He'd just as soon kill them - as Police already have done in Quogue.

And, how many Blacks, Latinos, Lesbians or Gays (out of the closet) have jobs at Town Hall or in the Republican Party folks?

Remember, Heaney and Nuzzi are no longer of the party of Lincoln - they are from the party of Senator Craig.

And, now folks if you own property in the Hamptons -- they're coming after YOU -- unless you pay them!
Heaney was investigated for an illegal approval on the Town Board for a cell tower a few years ago. The cash was found on the front seat of a car.
Now, in Town Hall, they want it in the form of a check made out to the Republican Party.

That's how business is now done in the Hamptons. And, if you own property, you're involved whether you like it or not.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Good Ground or Good Graft?

"Crime does not well as politics."
--Alfred E. Newman

"There’s Good Graft and Bad Graft"
--George Washington Plunkitt III

For those of you in Manhattan who have been successfully avoiding Hamptons politics, the local race for Supervisor of Southampton Town should be of some concern to you this year. If you are a resident of the Hamptons you should be even more concerned. Here’s why:

The players are these: The Supervisor (head guy) “Skip” Heaney and the four Town Board members run the Town of Southampton: Remsenberg, Westhampton, East Quogue, Quogue, Hampton Bays, Southampton, Water Mill and Bridgehampton. The current Town Board members are Linda Kabot, Steve Kenney, Chris Nuzzi and Nancy Graboski. Heaney is running for re-election as Supervisor, Kabot is challenging Heaney, Graboski is running again for Town Board, and Kenny is term-limited out.

What was once a relatively cohesive Board is now engaged in political warring. The basic antipathy seems clearly to be Ethics and the voice for women in politics – versus – the Old boy network and political graft.

Its Linda Kabot and Nancy Graboski against the Heaney, Nuzzi and Russo crowd.

If Heaney wins, if Russo wins, if Graboski loses, if Kabot loses – women lose, New Yorkers lose, and good government loses.

Linda Kabot, Town Councilmember is challenging the sitting Supervisor “Skip” Heaney partly due to the fact that he has been importing talent from up island (where he himself came from a decade or so back) in an attempt to continue his reign after political death in two years. He’s term limited and this November is his last election – which, if he wins, will give him his last two more years in office.

Kabot, a local woman originally from Westhampton Beach is known to be tired of the payoffs, highway contracts for votes, Preservation Fund deals, maneuvering to continue his political hold on power, and Heaney’s abusiveness behind closed doors. Heaney has been called a master of dirty tricks and known to be especially abusive towards female politicians when the press is not around. In public, innuendos are the preferred form of belittlement. The Southampton Press eats it up – as does Suffolk Life – following his entrails waiting for bits of PR to report. Sometimes they create “news” to help him out.

While Kabot’s Primary challenge of Heaney is a difficult one, she is a well-respected local politician and resents Heaney’s importation of Nuzzi from the neighboring Town of Brookhaven where political scandals have sent the rats looking for dryer ground – like Good Ground (a local term for Hampton Bays). They didn’t call it Crookhaven for nothing.

Both Heaney and Nuzzi have teamed up for the purpose of coordinating the continuing takeover of Southampton from out of the area politicos. One of their hallmark stunts, my Manhattan friends, has been to turn the illegal immigrant controversy into political hay and to continue the importation of talent that would keep Heaney in power after his term expires – and also create an out of town Putsch that would keep their hands on the money and power. In other words, folks, control of fundraising through contracts and power over Hamptons real estate and its industry.

So, how to do that? Well, for one thing there’s the recent passage of Heaney’s new rental law, (Resolution 2007-1184) which eliminates the existing group rental law, formerly euphemistically known as the Summer Rental Permit law. That law will now be replaced with one that requires all houses to be registered – permitting Code Enforcement Officers to inspect every house in the Town.
For what purpose, you say?

Well, to make you safe, silly! And, to know who is in that house. Didn't you know that in Southampton, the next best thing to video cameras operated by the government in your house -- is to require that you tell them who is living there?

Naturally, the law is not intended to do the work of Big Brother looking for Latinos, Gays, Blacks or summer people. It’s certainly not intended to fine or otherwise harass property owners who may rent to such "undesirables" – which would conveniently permit the sympathetic Code Enforcement Officers to enter your home without a warrant to help you find violations.

No, that couldn’t be the reason, could it?

Anna Throne-Holst, one of the candidates for Town Board, who is on to the real reason for the rental law, spoke up at the hearing which reminded some of the old days in Salem. She was clearly aware of the real intention of Heaney's boys.

As one insider said of Throne-Holst, "I guess Anna's strongest characteristic is her refusal to compromise her principles even for the sake of political gain. I was very impressed that she attended the town board meeting in which the rabble demanded the ill conceived rental law be passed. Anna made no bones about her opposition, but did it an non-confrontational way. She even took aside the leading supporter of the bill, a virulent anti-illegal immigrant proponent and engaged her in a conversation regarding the faults of the overwhelmingly passed bill."

Considering the fact that there is no such thing as a house that could survive a violation search by someone who wants to find a problem, any problem – this is, by any standards, an offer that any property owner cannot refuse -- to have one’s constitutional rights violated. The ostensible reason for the law is to make the people who they have been trying to run out of town -- safer. Do they think we are all -- local residents and New Yorkers alike -- stupid?
That's like protecting your friend by shooting him rather than taking him to the doctor because he's in pain.

Whether you speak Spanish or not.

Heaney and Nuzzi have found a solution to their three major problems. How to keep the New Yorkers under thumb and docile by threatening their ability to pay for investment property with big mortgages; how to deflect everyone's anger at the outrageous increase in property taxes; and how to avoid the criticism for doing nothing about affordable housing for local residents. They have managed to use local sympathy for "undesirables" in the Town – to craft an unconstitutional answer to the waning of the Republican Party and Heaney’s dwindling political career. And, they don't care at whose expense they do it.

When the waves of property being sold really hits the local Hamptons market -- due to the horrendous tax increases and unrentable houses -- it will become apparent to New Yorkers and local Hampton residents just how bad Heaney is for everyone's pocket book.

Heaney & Company have turned the local voters attention away from the non-existent affordable housing. A campaign pledge to provide homes for the residents who cannot afford to live here is a failed promise – so, let’s go after property owners from New York and force the Guatemalans out of their rentals.

What no one wants to admit is the fact that most new investment properties are difficult to afford, even by the owners. The old rental formulas don't work. So, by offering property at less than their owners cost, investors have been creating the only new affordable rental market in the Hamptons. They have been subsidizing the Town's housing stock by supporting large mortgages in the hopes of future gain by appreciation. These are the so-called "slumlords" that Heaney is targeting. Let's kill affordable housing and then let's kill off the people who are really providing it -- that's the Heaney approach. The inferior housing (ostensible reason for the new rental law)-- which are inhabited by people they would like to kill or deport, are exaggerated for the Press and by the Press to get votes from people who don't want Latinos living next door.

So far, Heaney's boys have accomplished their mission without most women voters realizing that they are being governed by misogynistic politicians who are opposed to good government. Ask Linda Kabot, or Nancy Graboski how civil Heaney is to women outside of the Press room.

But, hey, so what? Twenty or Thirty-Somethings are not my problem and as far as the Latinos, Blacks and Gays – I’ll get a different landscaper or Interior Designer. I’ll bring my own help from New York. Or, I'll do it myself.

Well, aside from being far from PC, there are a few other little problems.

Since media coverage of these local antics is practically non-existent in the Hamptons, here are some useful pieces of information –

Nancy Graboski, member of the Town Board was a good Republican but exposed the fact that a local builder, Mr. Zizzi, perhaps should not have been deciding who gets variances while simultaneously accepting contracts to build houses locally -- from people who appeared in front of his Town committee for favorable rulings. Graboski was, and is, a successful Republican Town Board member and, as unheard of as it was, – Marcus Stinchi, the Republican Party Chair (a local landscaper), who takes his orders from Heaney, -- bumped her from the ticket.

Fortunately, Graboski also has a line on the Integrity Party – a new political party that supports individual initiative and ethics in local government.

More talent was been imported by Heaney (Russo) from the Suffolk D.A.’s Office to round out the up-Island transition team to keep his influence flowing. It is widely anticipated that Nuzzi is Heaney’s bet for Supervisor in two years – with Russo backing him up. This way, Heaney’s in power and Nuzzi’s on the Board with Russo backing them up – and these numbers would control the Board. It also doesn’t hurt that Russo is one of D.A. Spota’s A.D.A’s to round out the law and order patina. Suffolk County is big on cops and prosecutors.

Graboski, however, like Kabot, is very popular. The fact that Heaney has been putting down the women candidates – by belittling them in private and demoting them in public does not play well with female voters -- even in Hampton Bays.

But Heaney & Company can’t really control their behavior since it is an integral part of the Old Boy network psychology. Bring in the Boys from up the island, keep down the locals, threaten the New Yorkers financially and, especially, subjugate the women. And, of course, charge it to the New Yorkers while you terrorize them where it hurts – in the real estate.

This brings us to the new PILOT plan. With the help of Assemblyman Thiele (who instituted the 2% transfer tax on real estate for open land purchases), money from the Preservation Fund can now be stolen from its intended use and openly used for political graft and vote buying.

The Fund was originally intended to buy land so that it remained vacant. Not a bad idea. The Fund generates nearly $100 million in transfer taxes – paid for primarily by New Yorkers who buy vacation homes in the Hamptons.

Real Estate pays for the property taxes that funds most of the government and the Preservation Fund pays for land purchases. Most of it is used at the discretion of the government in power – or, in this case, Heaney & Co. and it is really used to buy cooperation, favors and VOTES. Heaney could care less about the land as long as it benefits Hampton Bays or buy votes or favors elsewhere.

To Wit – The PILOT plan allows money from the Preservation Fund to be siphoned off for other uses – in this case School Taxes.

So what does that have to do with votes?

Well, in the Southampton Press, the official Republican Party Town organ recently (8/23/07) displayed a photo of Heaney and Nuzzi on the cover with a giant check from the Town of Southampton Preservation Fund written to the “Hampton Bays Taxpayers.”

Hampton Bays happens to be the largest voting block in Southampton Town. Hampton Bays gets a $1.5 million gift for local schools. Heaney and Nuzzi are handing the gift to the Hampton Bays School.

Kabot is challenging Heaney in a Republican primary for the first time. The Primary is on September 18th and the Southampton Press headline reads: "Financial Windfall for Hampton Bays." It's like a front page ad in the Southampton Press for Heaney.

The Hampton Bays vote usually decides the election – and, in this case Heaney is betting (Preservation Fund money) YOUR MONEY, that this will swing the Primary and the General Election vote his way. Nothing like buying the vote with the New Yorker’s and homeowner’s money – especially, since he plans on screwing them again once in office for another two years, and perhaps beyond that through his clones Nuzzi and Russo. Remember, New Yorker's can't vote -- even though it's their money paying for all of this. Remember the Boston Tea Party?

It's no surprise that the other Board members knew nothing of this press conference – or that even Fred Thiele explained that this PILOT program was not yet approved (but now will be by the Town Board through the intimidation of lost votes if they don’t).

Thiele professed ignorance of this ploy, along with the news conference which conveniently left Kabot and Graboski out of the loop but found a Southampton Press reporter right down the block. How do those guys from the Southampton Press -- along with a photographer -- always know just where to be to get their scoops?

This little media stunt clearly indicates that the Southampton Press is blatantly in Heaney’s pocket – along with the other major "news source" (Suffolk Life), whose publisher's son, Dave Wilmot,Jr., happens to be Heaney’s campaign manager. Talk about an independent media in the Hamptons?

Get ready for more “soldiers” from up the island imported to continue Heaney’s reign.

Get ready for more raiding of the Preservation Fund to support political games so that your tax money keeps the Emperor, Heaney, in office.

Get ready for the renewed subordination of women until this regime of good ‘old boys running Southampton Town.

And, get ready for the rental law witch-hunts, which will trample on the Constitution and make Kristalnacht looks like mischief on Prom Night at the local high school.
All the while, the Storm Troopers will be breaking into houses, eliminating the rental property market, raising taxes and flooding the market with unaffordable housing for sale.

This is the solution to the Latinos, affordable housing, equality for women, and the control and destruction of the real estate market in the Hamptons. Elect Skip Heaney!

And they’re going to do it with your money.