May 06, 2010 12:07 am
Sam Pratt's blog reprints a press release from Tivoli resident Ardith Truhan (a co-founder of the local community group Taghkanic Neighbors), and, as Pratt points out, it is a story so far unreported. An excerpt of the press release follows, take it for what it is worth:
A former Taghkanic resident has charged the town with arbitrarily and selectively penalizing her and her husband as a result of poor record keeping by the town’s previous building inspector and a politically motivated vendetta in connection with their outspoken opposition to the illegal motorcycle racetrack another resident has attempted to build in the town. Ardith Truhan read a letter at the town’s monthly board meeting Monday night accusing town officials of selectively enforcing a little-used building ordinance that requires all residents to have certificates of occupancy (C of Os) for residential buildings constructed on their property. She added that the town board was “fully apprised of all these events from the start,” and that it met in an improper and illegal executive session last fall—some 13 years after they completed construction on three buildings at their County Rte. 11 property—to determine what she and her husband John Markus owed the town, in “what amounts to an arbitrary $3,500.” Truhan said the board’s “complicity” in the attempt to penalize her and Markus “is quite evident.” At the core of the complaint against them, according to Truhan, was an investigation begun by unsuccessful 2009 town council candidate Erik Tyree, who is an employee of controversial racetrack builder Alan Wilzig. Truhan and Markus have been vocal opponents of Wilzig’s racetrack plan. Tyree, according to Truhan, investigated the paperwork associated with construction of their home, studio and garage apartment, and discovered that former building inspector Ed Waldron had not issued C of Os when the projects were completed in 1996. Tyree then set the town’s current building inspector and code enforcement officer Dennis Callahan on the trail with a formal letter of complaint in 2007, suggesting that Markus and Truhan owed the town $800,000 in fines because of the absence of the C of Os on the buildings. Acting on Tyree’s complaint, Callahan sent Truhan and Markus notices of violation. After consulting with Town Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons, however, Callahan then advised the couple that they could pay “fees” adding up to $10,800 to retroactively renew their building permits for each of the intervening years since construction was completed in order to qualify for the suddenly necessary C of Os. The couple challenged that ruling, and ultimately paid the town a settlement of $3,500 to resolve the matter. Read the entire press release and story at Sam Pratt.