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September 3rd, 2008

RUMORS & LIES: FAIR AND BALANCED IN THE HAMPTONS.

by Jack Torrance

As repressed sadists are supposed to become policemen or butchers so those with irrational fear of life become publishers.
–Cyril Connolly (1903-1974)

Westhampton Beach had its Village elections this past June and more attention was paid to the fact that the local synagogue wanted to construct an Eruv than any issues having to do with local governance. The Eruv, which outlines a path with pieces of black PVC piping on telephone poles, got everyone’s juices flowing. In addition to the public face of support by the Mayor, who is also the former Police Chief of Westhampton Beach, the Village Board had to give a good show to the press. In reality, racism and anti-Semitism run deep in the Hamptons and the election spawned spontaneous groups such as a “non-profit” organization that suddenly erupted out of nowhere; it sent mailings to every voter supporting the “Separation of Church and State”and apparently was organized to exist only long enough to get Teller reelected. While Teller is known among his friends to be anti-Semitic, anti-New Yorker, and against change of any sort, the fact that he is an aging cop who controls the police force through intimidation and threats of removal is not lost on those around him. Many local businesses are holding on by a thread and most are forced to close in the winter for lack of customers. Why? No support from local government. While Southampton Village or East Hampton Village flourish throughout the year, Westhampton Beach celebrates Tumbleweed Tuesday, once the summer people have left town on Labor Day.

And, Teller’s connections and buddies at the Town Attorney’s Office and Town Code Enforcement (the anti-Latino rubber gun and nouveau immigration squad) as well as the politicos from the Town of Southampton, have permitted a virtual crime wave to attack local Westhampton Beach businesses that don’t fall in line. The timing and disinterest in investigating and prosecuting several grand larcenies that occurred in Westhampton Beach–in a law and order location like Suffolk County, no less—are rumored to be run by a sanctioned political black bag operation reminiscent of Nixon’s Plumbers. There was no denial about this from Teller’s people. The names of Lombardo, Sendlenski, Frano, Heaney and Betts keep surfacing.

In addition to numerous robberies that have gone unsolved, local businesses that have been critical of Teller’s administration have suffered unannounced code inspections by Bridget Napoli, who looks for wayward signs and “criminal behavior” such as excessive seating by certain business owners—overlooked if they are friendly and cooperative towards the Mayor. Obtaining legal permission to install a legal sign on a business can take a year. Getting an approval from Brian Noone of the Suffolk County Health Department can take more than two years. As you might have guessed, rentals in the Hamptons were down this year. In Westhampton Beach, they were virtually nonexistent. No clubs, few bars, and soon, according to Teller, no Jews or businesses that can afford to stay open.

If you’re looking for a place in the Hamptons, keep driving.

Printed matter and online news, known in other parts of the world as “The Press,” has risen to new levels of incompetence in the Hamptons.

While the Southampton Press has a new online presence, it really is not worth your time unless you’re looking for Republican-sanitized news. Although you can now access the site (previously, you had to have a code handy from your subscription), the depth of news depends upon the subject. A recent murder-suicide attempt was fairly comprehensive, and it appeared online only shortly after the SoHo Journal‘s online coverage (www.sohojournal.com) was posted. Cooperation on the part of the police was, of course, helpful to their reporter and is based upon the cozy relationship between the Town of Southampton and local police—all of whom are Republicans.

Generally, political coverage is non-existent unless the Republican Party sanctions it.

The Southampton Press is big on leaks that are anti-Latino, anti-Black, anti-Gay or anti-Semitic—coded, of course, so that their Republican sponsors do not miss the message. Ad dollars have to keep flowing, of course.

Hamptons.com continues to hang on by a thread and one of its main writers is a real estate agent by the name of Andrea Aurichio. Part-time reporting may even be paying more than real estate by the time ad sales start to make this media venture worthwhile. Hamptons.com also takes its cue from the Republican Party and has been known to craft reports according to the Town Board and the Town Attorney’s office. Some of Aurichio’s reporting, in fact, is reminiscent of Republican Party dogma; they don’t complain about plagiarizing their material.

Speaking of which, neo-con Town Attorney Joe Lombardo recently decided to release some defamatory comments about a case in progress (wink, wink, nod, nod) to his buddy Dave Wilmot at Suffolk Life, the defunct right-wing Pennysaver news. Known to be a drunk who has more personal knowledge of abortion than his pontificating right-wing editorials had let on, the newspaper he operated for more than twenty years was a source of much local political consternation. Hank Russell, one of his “reporters” who is known to have difficulty holding a pen upright without shaking, was given many of Wilmot’s political hatchet jobs–and legitimate factual information was never a priority. In fact, in one of Russell’s most recent character assassination “news” reports, he directly took instructions from the Town of Southampton’s Attorney, Lombardo, to defame his target. Russell loved his job and paid heavily to keep it.

For such defamation services, Wilmot’s “association” with the former D.A., for example, was legendary among those who feared Catterson’s little black book.

It’s no surprise, then, that Kitty Kat, the former D.A’s son, is now an Appellate Court judge in the First Department, especially after Gail Prudente rejected him for her court in the Second Department. Catterson knew a few people and Pataki did a favor.

Archie Comics would no doubt do a better job filling the void left by Suffolk Life since it folded this past June. Now, there’s a journalistic level to aspire to for Wilmot and Russell if they avoid rehab.

Lest we not forget Quogue Police and a complete blackout on media coverage—recently, a young and beautiful socialite who takes no nonsense was pulled over for DWI.

While many police departments have come to see the wisdom of adopting security procedures by installing video equipment in patrol cars, usage has been “spotty.” In fact, Nassau County police pulled out the videocams because it began to show how extensive law enforcement abuse was. Recordings were intended to protect Villages and Towns from lawsuits and it turned out to support false arrest claims.

Take the recent incident in Quogue, the Village in the Hamptons where a Latino driver who ostensibly attacked an officer with a tree branch two years ago was shot to death—in the back, no less.

A young socialite by the name of Victoria Davidson was driving her car in Quogue and crossed the line with her car. Interestingly, an investigative reporter specializing in U.S. Intelligence—not a lightweight by any means—accompanied her.

So, arriving on the scene was Quogue police Officer Thune, who proceeded to question Ms. Davidson as to whether she had been drinking because he had detected a smell which he then assumed to be alcohol.

Whereupon, Officer Thune was advised that not only had she not been drinking, but that there was no alcohol in the vehicle, and he was confused about the pungent odor from some other substance.

As Ms. Davidson pulled out her cell phone to call her lawyer, which was explained to Officer Thune, it was forcibly removed from her hand, her arm twisted behind her back. She was removed from the car and instructed to follow the test procedures for drunk driving.

After being cross-examined, Ms. Davidson passed the test—despite being denied the right to speak with her attorney—with flying colors and left the scene.

The security tapes were requested from the Quogue Police but, as it turns out, there were “technical difficulties” and the tapes of the entire episode have been permanently lost.

In keeping with full disclosure, the Quogue Police received a FOIL request for their tapes—which were conveniently lost or destroyed—and the police were advised that Officer Thune had misidentified the smell in Ms. Davidson’s vehicle.

She had been at a horse farm and the odor was manure, not alcohol.

Of course, if you’re a Quogue Police officer and treat the public to a certain level of truth, you may no longer be able to identify horseshit.

Sally Pope, an attorney from Remsenburg, is running against Dan Russo (aka”Puppy Eyes”), a former prosecutor and Republican appointee to Linda Kabot’s Town Board seat; this was done at the request of the Republican Party. They had supported Skip Heaney but were forced to support Kabot when she beat Heaney in the Primary. Heaney, of course, is now one of Steve Levy’s appointments for Economic Development—proving the fact that both of them are staunch Republicans. The reward to Heaney for his anti-Latino crusade in the Town of Southampton (which echoes Levy’s anti-immigrant policies) was to put him in charge of finding affordable housing. While Heaney found no affordable housing for nearly eight years as Supervisor, Levy gave him a throwaway job doing what he should have done when he was Supervisor.

While Anna Throne-Holst, now also controlled by the Republicans, had managed to take one of the seats as a Democrat, she quickly fit in. In fact, she fit in so well that according to Republican sources in the Town, she and Russo are carrying on after hours. It gives new meaning to the term strange bedfellows. The Republicans leave no stone unturned. They now control the Town Board in total.

Amazing what can be accomplished with our money, isn’t it?

While Pope is challenging Russo, Andrea Schiavoni is challenging DeMayo for Justice of the Town Court. It’s really no contest for those who value the Constitution.

DeMayo is known for his role in signing all of those search warrants which have allowed Code Enforcement to essentially get away with breaking and entering in order to target Latinos in the Town. DeMayo has worked with Investigator David Betts, Town Attorney Joe Lombardo and Cheryl Kraft in forcing landlords to evict anyone that the Minutemen, the Town Attorneys and the Town Board don’t like, for fear of winding up in jail or bankruptcy court for simply renting a house to people of color who may otherwise wind up in the woods.

As a variation on a theme—Racism, that is—we have a recent, additional example of local justice.

Recently, the owners of the Hampton Bays Diner filed a $55 Million dollar lawsuit against the Town for trying to set them up with phony drug charges as a result of their allowing Latinos to visit their establishment for Latino entertainment. Apparently, certain Hampton Bays politicians decided to punish the owners and perpetrated numerous visits by the Code Enforcement police with an eye to shutting them down. They actually barricaded the entrance to the diner at one point. It’s the same tactic used in targeting landlords who rent to immigrant workers looking for housing for their families.

A Federal Prosecutor who was recently briefed on this tactic shook his head in disbelief. Hey, this is Southampton. Obama might get the bum’s rush in this Town.

Wait until gas reaches $8 a gallon,Wall Street starts getting those pink-slips, Manhattan condos stop selling and the foreclosures really start to hit. Even dipping into the Community Preservation Fund won’t save local jobs then.

Even the problem of politicians stealing from the Community Preservation Fund, which Fred Thiele has partially solved by turning East Hampton’s problem into a $15 million dollar loan—won’t be able to solve the debacle about to hit. New York State, New York City, Suffolk County and all of the Hampton’s Villages are getting ready for the Big Slide, to replace the Big Easy. With the lawsuits on top of the economic disaster about to unfold that will come over the next two years, caused by racism and unconstitutional police actions, it should be quite a party.

With real estate tax receipts going down, foreclosures and racist and unconstitutional behavior going up and lawsuits rising, the locals will have only the current politicians to blame for the surging taxes to pay for the litigation. Racism is costly.

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Politics | the Hamptons

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