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The Truth Hurts: When 'Yes' Should Be 'No'

A response to trustees Kreiger and Keyes.

It's not often that public opinion pieces submitted by residents are responded to personally and fervently by elected officials. It seems that my opinions in particular have really hit the mark based on the tone of and to my Op Ed about on the Four Corners.

To Trustee Keyes:

I submitted my Op Ed not to offend you, but to express my views as a resident and taxpayer.  I stand by them.

You and the newly appointed Deputy Mayor can patronize me if you want, repeatedly and chauvinistically referring to me as the "Judge's Wife," but what you don't mention is that I was a former Patchogue Village Trustee, Zoning Board of Appeals member, Community Development Agency member, Chairperson of Patchogue First (twice), and Paul Pontieri's Campaign Manager (2004 – his first victorious Mayoral campaign in a highly contested 3-way race).  All of these things I did long before you became involved in our Village Government. I won't go into my professional accomplishments outside of the Village, but I will say that the taxpayers don't pay my salary.

I too was an appointed trustee at one time, and I know how difficult it is to stand up to a Mayor that appoints you when you disagree with him. Early in my term, I voted against a former Mayor on one of his proposals, and did so despite the fact that I was a very young and newly appointed trustee.  At the time I voted against the Mayor's position my husband was the appointed village prosecutor who served at the pleasure of the Mayor. That is what leadership is all about--standing up for what is right even when it is difficult and may come with a price.  Despite what you say, you have never voted against Mayor Pontieri’s position on anything.

I also felt a great deal of pressure last winter when acting as Co-Chair of Patchogue First in planning the Community Forum on the Four Corners.  The Mayor continually tried to sabotage the event by sneaking the vote on the agenda multiple times before the forum, threatening not to show up at that forum, and seeking to change the venue to Tritec's offices at the 11th hour. 

He left members of our group and the Chamber of Commerce scrambling to get information about the new Tritec plan, trying to keep everything as quiet as possible. That seems to be the way the Mayor operates, and you support him, unconditionally.

High Density Rental Housing

Although you were not involved at the time, one of Patchogue First's major platforms was that we would oppose additional high density rental housing.  I was there in the beginning, and I fought alongside others against the slumlords in south Patchogue who were destroying our quality of life.   I walked the streets with literature and withstood the taunts of those slumlords as they used minivans to transport their tenants to the voting booths in order to oppose our position on high density housing. 

Paul Pontieri signed on to our platform at the time and promised to fight high density rental housing. He has broken that promise by becoming high density rental housing’s biggest proponent.  You have supported the Mayor’s Tritec plan for 291 rental apartments, unconditionally.

The Mayor’s Car

You mention that you supported the sale of the Mayor’s car to his relative, and then to his directing  a Village employee to immediately purchase it back at a profit to that relative.  The Mayor did all of this without Board knowledge or approval and in violation of the law.  You said in your response to my Op Ed that you think that was a “good idea.”  I don’t. Again, you supported him unconditionally.

Artspace: Illegal Loan

Regarding my attendance at board meetings, I work in Manhattan and travel  extensively, but I go when I can. I am not an elected official, and it is not the residents’ job to go to Board meetings. It is yours.

I was, however, at a board meeting on August 22nd when Trustee McGiff, an attorney and former prosecutor, advised you that that the Mayor’s unilateral $150,000 loan to Artspace was illegal. He also advised you that unless the Village rescinded the illegal loan you would be personally obligated on the debt and be guilty of a crime.

I watched as you ignored his warnings and voted to unconditionally support the Mayor’s illegal loan without any deliberation or sufficient inquiry, and before receiving an official legal opinion from the Village Attorney or a lawyer of your choosing. Again, you supported him unconditionally.

Mayor’s Cousin as Full Time Custodian

The Mayor hired his cousin (on a deficient 3-2 vote - 4 votes are required to pass a resolution by law) to be a full time custodian with health benefits, despite the fact that the Village had utilized outside contractors for decades at a fraction of the cost.  That hire alone will cost us residents more than a million dollars over the life of his relative’s employment.

The Mayor claimed in the Advance that the reason he hired his cousin was that the contractors were being eliminated by “attrition.” That is not true. We now pay his cousin’s salary and still pay the contractors. The Mayor told former Deputy Mayor McGiff, “I know it is wrong, but I have to do it (hire his cousin) for my family.” The Mayor has never denied making this remark. With all of this in mind, you voted to hire the Mayor’s cousin, unconditionally.

Following the Mayor instead of the Law

As a Board member charged with writing laws, I find it disturbing that you fail to take the time to learn the law and seem disinterested in following it. 

While I have no doubt that you believe you are acting in the best interests of the residents, I am equally certain that you have failed miserably to represent our interests as taxpayers because you can’t say no to Mayor Pontieri.  Ever.

To Deputy Mayor Krieger:

Your claim that I cannot be trusted by the public is ironic and amusing because I am a member of the public; you are our elected representative.  It is we, the residents, who look to you to earn our confidence.  Instead, you have violated it.

You  ran as a member of Patchogue First, promising to follow our platform and to oppose high density rental housing.  You broke that promise, and the residents will decide soon enough who can be trusted.

Tritec and High Density Housing

You mention that Trustees McGiff and Crean voted in favor of other developers’ projects in Patchogue.  You neglect to point out that those projects were owner-occupied developments.  Tritec’s plan is for 291 rentals, and Patchogue is already saturated with rentals.  You argue that working families will fill up all of those units (Tritec’s rendering has everyone dressed to the nines and driving a luxury vehicle), and you unconditionally supported the Tritec plan.  I am skeptical, given the fact that Tritec currently has rental listings for commercial space that are overpriced and unoccupied, and because Mr. Coughlin, Tritec’s CEO, is in charge of 2,000 Section 8 housing units with the CDC.   

I find it more than a coincidence that, given his position with the CDC, his plan has morphed from a mixed-use development with a hotel into the biggest apartment complex this side of Hempstead. You overlook this fact, putting tremendous faith in Tritec’s representations. I have little faith in Tritec’s promises based on its track record.  You are rolling the dice with our future.  


Carnegie Library: Demolition?

is absolutely not the Carnegie Library's biggest proponent. Although Tritec was awarded a $1 million grant to move the library, and promised to do so, Mayor Pontieri has been advocating its destruction. Recently he had taken to calling it the “Briarcliff Library” in order to lessen its importance, and he has told Board members and several residents that the library cannot be moved because the building "is structurally unsound." 

When he realized that argument was unpersuasive because he had previously claimed the building was in good shape, and because engineers recently agreed, he came up with another reason. He is now changing his tune because supporters of the library have begun to mobilize to save it. I am only hoping he will relent to the public pressure he is feeling now and that the library eludes the bulldozers he and his developers had lined up.

Loyalty and Trust

I recognize that you are Mayor Pontieri’s cousin and that he secured your position with Mr. Lesko in the Town of Brookhaven as a Public Information Officer. I suppose that is why you are unconditionally loyal to him and support the Mayor on everything. You should not have been loyal to a person, but to the law, and to the taxpayers and residents who trusted you to represent our interests.

I was surprised that you reacted in such a vitriolic and disrespectful manner towards me simply because I voiced my opinions. It is not surprising that people are hesitant to speak up in this Village. The fear of retribution and retaliation is too great for many. I for one will not be bullied or intimidated into silence by you or anyone, and I will continue to voice my opinions and to stand up for the community I live in and love.

Conclusion

It is my strong opinion that trustees Keyes, Krieger and Devlin have all supported Mayor Pontieri unconditionally, and they have all said "Yes" far too many times when it would have been in our collective best interests had they said "No" when we needed them to.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ann Salvatore October 12, 2011 at 02:31 AM
Mr. Sorrentino, Please explain why the comments from AD are still visible on this forum. If you don't think the content itself is inappropriate, which of course it is, how about flagging it for its butchering of the English language and written word?
PatchogueLifetime October 12, 2011 at 02:35 AM
"It is we, the residents, who look to you to earn our confidence" I would appreciate it, Ms. McGuire, if you refrain from you making statements like the one above which suggest you speak for anyone other than a small disgruntled group of Mayor Pontieri's former friends out for revenge. I am a lifelong resident of Patchogue and you certainly do not speak for me or represent me or my beliefs in any way. I for one, am damn glad that Mayor Pontieri and Trustees Krieger and Keyes abandoned whatever ludicrous and SHORTSIGHTED stance against high density rental housing Patchogue First adopted when they supported the New Village project. It's the future of Long Island -- you cannot stop it. I'm also proud of Krieger and Keyes for sticking with Pontieri when they believed it was in the best interest of the Village rather than jumping ship in a very public, very self-serving way - as some of the other Trustees have done recently. I sincerely hope neither Trustee Krieger nor Keyes responds to you further. Responding will only empower you to spread what I consider to be total lies even further.
Michael Sorrentino (Editor) October 12, 2011 at 03:09 AM
Ann, Our terms are listed here if you have not reviewed them: patchogue.patch.com/terms. And I'd like to direct you to the following section of it: "We do our best to keep tabs on what is posted on the site, however Patch is under no obligation to screen or monitor Content, but may review Content from time to time at its sole discretion to determine compliance with this Acceptable Use Policy." Please refer other moderation questions to: support@patch.com . Thanks.
Ann Salvatore October 12, 2011 at 03:22 AM
"•is inaccurate, false or misleading in any way Patch expects all of its users to be respectful of others." Patch's words, Michael. As editor, uphold them
Lily White October 12, 2011 at 03:23 AM
Ms. Salvatore, talk about inappropriate comments, it seems to me that your comments were pretty inappropriate and inaccurate at tonight's Patchogue Village Board Meeting.
Ann Salvatore October 12, 2011 at 03:34 AM
Just sayin what Mrs. Devlin?
Ann Salvatore October 12, 2011 at 03:36 AM
Lily White, Hmmm.... That's a real name... Just sayin... What exactly did you find so inappropriate about my remarks?
Susan Greco October 12, 2011 at 04:29 AM
Well said Christine. I too, am a renter. I earn a good living, but not good enough to purchase a home. I pay my rent on time, if not early and I live in a nice building. Granted, I live in an area where renting is common, but if I was still in Patchogue, I would be looking to rent there as well....and my ideal spot would be right smack in the middle of the village. People cannot afford to buy on LI anymore and many rent for their entire lives. It does not make you a second class citizen as some on here infer.
Susan Greco October 12, 2011 at 04:32 AM
Michael, time to put this thread to bed. Nothing good can come of it. It just goes around and around in the same ugly circle......
William October 12, 2011 at 06:14 AM
Ms. Salvatore-you don't seem to be very forthcoming. You are the Village Justice's sister aren't you? And Ms. McGuire-only recently have you become involved in your community after many years. Have you been regularly attending meetings? I've been attending for years and have never seen you there. I have attended most of the Tritec meetings that have been held and very few concerned residents have even showed to voice their opinions for or against the project. You jumped in at the eleventh hour with your allegations and expect our entire community to turn against what many of us see as progress? All because you and your family do not like the Tritec project? Your elitist ways are not very flattering. Your comments reek of retribution. You still have not responded to the copyright comments from earlier. What gives you and your husband the right to take what was the communities and turn it into a private corporation? And, Ms. Salvatore your quotes? "Respectful of others?" I don't believe you and Ms. McGuire are respectful of anything except furthering a hidden cause. Your numerous letters and pleas to the public are only making you and your cohorts look foolish. Many of us residents are capable of making intelligent choices. I don't agree with your character assassination tactics and are generally happy with the changes I see happening in our Village. I am curious to see read about the litigation that is going on and the real truth is regarding the takeover of ours to yours.
Elisabeth McGuire October 12, 2011 at 11:29 AM
Like I said, the truth hurts. I expected some angry outbursts when I submitted my response to the Deputy Mayor's and Trustee Keyes' attacks. I have no problem with that, but to ask Patch to shut down my blog? There definitely needs to be a public debate about these issues. I am not an elitist or a mouthpiece for my husband or anyone else. It is insulting that this is continually suggested, though I know from where it comes. Like most residents. I am very concerned about how my tax dollars are being spent. I also do not believe anything that Tritec claims, and am convinced that the library was on the chopping block in an attempt to save them money. I'm glad that the Board has now committed to saving it. I believe that Tritec does not have the 100 million dollars they claim they are going to invest. Time will tell. Have a great day everyone!
William October 12, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Mrs. McGuire-the answer to to questions you are commenting about. The trademark law debacle? You and your FEW cohorts took what was OURS and made it YOURS. And wasn't the Judge responsible for that? What did your Keegan administration do when they CREATED the blight on the four corners? You keep claiming how this administration has done this and that-but you only jumped into the picture at the very end. That means on my opinion Crean and McGiff weren't around enough to be involved in what has been happening. It seems like you are all so busy throwing slanderous stories about but you never seem to address the copyright issue. I for one cannot wait to hear what the attorney has to say about the copyright issue. I cannot wait to read it in the Patch, the Advance and every other newspaper. Then Justice will be done. You have a great day too Elisabeth.
William October 12, 2011 at 02:17 PM
Why is the Judge's sister from Sayville going after OUR Mayor? I don't understand that. The op-ed from the LI Advance shows how much the Mayor is trying to save the Library. Please stay more involved in Sayville instead of defending your brother and sister-in law at every opportunity. Didn't you all begin this negative campaigning?
Jennifer Ann Krieger October 13, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Good for you Christine. You are a perfect example of an involved resident. You shop in the Village, eat in the Village, volunteer at the Theatre in the Village. Much like Marilyn Pontieri!
greatsouthbay November 11, 2011 at 02:42 AM
"Inaccurate, false and misleading" are all words that could be used to describe this post from Mrs. McGuire should we ask Michael to take the entire blog down???
greatsouthbay December 09, 2011 at 01:39 PM
It is a strange thing about belief, it never holds up to facts: From Newsday 12/08/2011 re: The Ronkonkoma Hub and Tritec-"Tritec has the strongest qualifications among the responding developers and articulated a compelling, creative vision for the Ronkonkoma Hub," the design committee -- comprised of town officials from Brookhaven and Islip, civic leaders, residents and industry experts -- wrote in a letter to Brookhaven Town board members Wednesday. "Tritec has demonstrated the financial strength to successfully undertake a project of this magnitude and a track record of successful development on Long Island." So believe what you will Ms McGuire but there are many of us residents who would like to see this project move forward. You and I both know that the only thing causing the delay in The New Village Project is the lawsuit to which you are a party, trying to spin it any other way will not stand the light of day.
Travis December 09, 2011 at 03:26 PM
What people should be asking is ; 1 How many Developers where on this said list(I never saw one).And why TT ,what made TT so worthy? Me and my competitors walk away from this so called "deal".Remember the #'s still have to work.And how has TT demonstrated anything but shucking and jiving? Has anyone here seen and figures for any jobs? Or have talk to any finance companies/banks. Usually they would be falling over themselves to get there name out there. 2 How are the towns/county going to acquire the money/land to make there end of the deal go through.Or will this be another deal as so the builder can do whatever they want. 3 What is the predicted cost of the said project/s and over all impact on the area. 4 Why is the town of Brookhaven involved in a job in Islip? This makes me go MMMMMMMMMMM............ 4 Is the financing in place or is this also top secret just as the financing for the Patchogue Village job. 5 At the end of the day people/contractors are running away from this job ( 4 corners) like the plague. 6 Prove me wrong and I'll never doubt another thing a politician or a Developers says again. 7 In other words show me. 8 In closing no law suits ever stop the progress of building especially this case one has nothing to do with the other ..Unless there's a secret burial Indian ground on site. btw why hasn't demo started ? That has nothing to do with building.
Travis December 09, 2011 at 03:29 PM
Some above mentioned Newsday ,really is that the best you got????
jinxed December 09, 2011 at 11:15 PM
Give it up Angelito you and your friends have been found out! Now everybody who reads this will know what you and your "friends" (imaginary and otherwise) are the ones holding up progress in Patchogue. My favorite is #8...if you were Tritec would you start a multi million dollar project under these circumstances? And the only thing "people are running away from like the plague" are you and your friends. The people of Patchogue want progress not bull! HHHHMMMMM! Have a nice day!
greatsouthbay December 10, 2011 at 01:55 AM
It seems that the Angelitos of the world feel that nobody knows anything except them... certainly not Newsday; the whole article on the Ronkonkoma Hub must be a ploy to promote Tritec? Was that the point? or am I missing something?
Doug December 10, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Well let's see, who is the public information officer for the TOB and releases all their press releases? Jackie Krieger? Who promoted Tritec to the TOB and Mark Lesko? Buddy Pontieri? Who is on this so-called "panel" that recommended Tritec? Jackie and Buddy?
jinxed December 10, 2011 at 04:19 AM
WOW!! "Buddy" and "Jackie" sure are powerful!! Doug, you and Angelito should get together. You could spend the whole time bashing Newsday, Pontieri, Krieger, Tritec, etc...it might be the start of a beautiful (??) friendship--you have so much in common!
Travis December 10, 2011 at 11:27 AM
Darn it we've all been found out our diabolical plan has been exposed. Jinxed you and the others have yet to produce a thread of evidence to suggest other wise from any of the comments made by myself or others. Why is that ? Personally I wouldn't care if the project ever gets built or not.I like Patchogue Village and think it would be a welcome addition but whens the BS going to stop? November has come and gone twice and still nothing. And my knowledge comes from contractors,architects,engineers etc. that ar every close to the project . And were do you get your information from ,the politicians and/or Newsday? Let me try to explain this to you and the others again. TT purchased the land at a record high # ,when they were starting to go ahead with the project it was scaled back ,not just once but 3 times.And lets not forget about now having to move a building that should be knocked down.It would be cheaper to build new then to move.And once it's moved who will maintain it? So in other words now ( and I'm just using any #'s ) instead of building a project for a dollar a sqft they would have to charge double the amount just to probably break even. TT is a business and it's all about making money as much as people would like to believe other wise that's pretty much what it's all about. And I'm not bashing anyone , I just think if I have a difference of opinion people automatically go on the defensive.I still have yet to here who is going to be financing this job.
Travis December 10, 2011 at 11:45 AM
Opps silly me that's top secret or to sensitive for anyone to know about according to the Vice Mayor. As far as the Ronknokoma hub ,don't hold your breath .They'd have an easier time building a rail from the train station to the airport terminal. But that would make to much sense.Oh almost forgot # 8 ,of course I wouldn't build in these economic times (and neither will TT) look around there's more supply then demand. I like this dialogue keeps me in tune on how the other half think and rationalize the unthinkable.Have a great day and enjoy the weather I know I'll be doing just that. And remember at the end of the day it's all BS small town politics at it's best.....
Travis December 10, 2011 at 11:54 AM
I don't know everything but what I do know is I'm educated enough in these matters to tell you that I'll be in a wheel chair or dead before the Train hub ever happens in Ronkonkoma . What do you GSB base your comments on?
Elisabeth McGuire December 10, 2011 at 03:25 PM
This is becoming very comical!
greatsouthbay December 11, 2011 at 01:14 AM
HA HA Liz ... wait let me see if I get this right, Angelito., the County is quoted in Newsday regarding the financial strength of Tri-tec because Krieger works for the town and Pontieri is... ah what...? Mayor of Patchogue? where we have a stalled project due to a lawsuit to which you are a party?? When do I stop laughing??
Travis December 11, 2011 at 02:06 PM
Good morning GSB , Lets see if I can remedy your laughing attack . Your first problem is believing everything you read in print . Do you think TT or anyone else for the matter would open their books to anyone unless court ordered , especially Newsday ? I was a Black tie event last night and the who's who of the banking and construction/developing community were there. Here's an up date for you ,buckle up. Yes there is no doubt that TT has the money to proceed with this and many other projects , but like I stated earlier they are business men (never ever play with the house's money) economics 101. Why do you think TT is asking the Sub-Contractors to put up bonds and why do you think Sub-contractors are walking away . The concrete alone is 7 million dollars last time I check .Do the math with you have that kind of money tied up in a bond until the job gets done (4-5 years with charges every year it's opened)?That's another reason this job has to be done in phases.And the millions the state has allocated to this job is chump change. Law suits ? Are you kidding me I wouldn't spend neither time and/or effort on something that "might" happened.And have no money or interest in this venture. I think of this thread as entertainment and dialogue . The lawsuits are being pressed by most of the old regime that see this project as competition and the others as "your changing my corner of the world and I'm scared". Look how that's worked out for Downtown Riverhead.
Travis December 11, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Part 2 , GSB . Do you really think TT is waiting to building because of a trivial law-suit? They have an army of lawyers that could crush this is a NY minute , oh and don't forget the support of the Village Politicians/Unions and all the new local merchants .I would say county,state and town politicians but have you notice all have stayed away like it was poison from this project except for the occasional photo opt.btw next time you see your Legislator/Assemblyman/Councilman ask them about the project and see what the response is ,right after they roll their eyes. GSB, this comes down to money and the #'s don't work ,period. I for one am in favor of this and many more projects ,such as waterfront condos on Jones Beach.What once they would have rented out for 25-30 sq.ft. would now have to be 60-70 sq.ft. this is in American dollars and not bottle caps or green stamps.Here's another news flash TT is looking for partners and have been doing so for over 2 years for this and other projects so if you have a cool 25-30 million(minimum to get in) laying around go for it but I bet there's no guaranteeing you'll see a return. I'm just curious GSB what is you interest in all of this? You don't have to answer but I do respect your opinions and inputs.There always 2 side to every story.
Travis December 11, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Part 3 ,GSB , My input is someone is not telling the truth and quite frankly the Contractor has nothing to lose. In reality they can sell the site and walk away . And can do so in portions and no one can stop them and it is private property.So that leaves the other side of the coin. Some are serving a few masters 3-4 but you and I both know you can only serve one. In this case that one is the Village.Do you think it's being serve properly ? Listen at the end of the day all this is all BS, go out enjoy yourself and your family. This plan has been all ready laid out and is in play. Weather you and I like it or not.

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