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April 10th, 2006

Rumors & Lies: The New York-Hamptons Connection

by Jack Torrence

The next time you sign up a broker to sell your house in the Hamptons, make sure they have insurance. Better yet, get everyone who is allowed in to view it to sign a release. One Water Mill homeowner arranged to sell his house through a broker in Southampton and came to regret the decision.

At an Open House for brokers only, one of the visitors, real estate agent Diane Sadowski, allegedly fell and hurt herself. Even though the broker handling the Open House had insurance which covered such an eventuality and was initially advised that the offended party would not sue the homeowner–the allegedly damaged agent and her lawyers elected to sue the homeowner, in addition to the broker, anyway. Such a nice way to start a relationship. It makes you feel so warm and cuddly.

Now that the real estate market is dropping like a rock in some price ranges, you may want to get an agreement signed in advance so that you are indemnified against such eventualities, real or imagined. Your profit could go up in smoke without even selling.

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There’s another “anonymous” letter out of CB2 that attacks Downtown activists and community-oriented Community Board members. It’s been shopped around by the perps at various newspapers to gain maximum negative effect. Even Joanna Piazza of the Daily News went for the bait and included it in a recent gossip column. Among those who were attacked is Sean Sweeney of the SoHo Alliance. Attacking Sweeney for his community work is like criticizing Mother Theresa for having helped poor, sick people. He was, in fact, thanked by her for his work with AIDS patients. His work in saving the community from the excesses of bars and nightclubs is one reason for this particular brand of character assassination engineered by people whose liquor licenses were voted down and by Board members with their own axe to grind. It’s not easy being a community activist. Nor, is it safe sometimes.

Slandering the opposition in writing at Board #2 is not new and it contributes to the perception that its leadership team is drawn from old episodes of the “Twilight Zone.” Instead of aggressively attempting to “out” the culprits and determine who penned the lies, its Chair, Maria Derr, has suggested that the victims be investigated. Now, there’s logic! Perhaps the Board will hold a party to congratulate the “Anonymous” Board members wearing Nixon masks. Even the SoHo Journal and its staff have been attacked as a result of its support of community issues. Can you say, “Conflict of Interest” on the Board’s Executive Committee (made-up mostly of bar owners, by the way? Their PR contacts in the Nightlife business have been working overtime to get this phony story placed well.

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Treewolf West and Brooke Ellison are both running for office on Long Island. West is running for Assembly, and Ellison for Senate. In an area (the Hamptons) where the old boy network has run amok for many years, change may be on the way. West, a carpenter and dead ringer for the young Abe Lincoln, and Ellison, a quadriplegic with more guts than any politician in Suffolk, should make for an interesting race. Question is, whether Rich Schaeffer, the Democratic County Chair is going to support Democratic candidates? Or is he, for example, in the case of West, going to support his old buddy Fred Thiele, a Republican. He has to support Ellison because entrenched politicians are afraid of appearing weak on disabled issues. We’re not optimistic about the support for Democratic candidates from their own party. But, the voters are aware of these sub Rosa machinations now and want a change.

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The community has been trying to solve a problem at Pier 45, located at the foot of Christopher Street. Apparently, as soon as the weather gets warmer, groups of gay youths congregate at the pier and fraternize. They just have a good time. But, when they leave the pier after it closes in the early hours of the morning, the kids are not quite so orderly. Noise levels at 2 or 3 a.m. are notoriously antipathetic to sleep. And, the neighbors are not amused by the antics and screaming.

Arthur Schwartz, Chair of the Parks and Waterfront committee, along with Maria Derr, Chair of the Board has been trying to solve the problem, unsuccessfully. Unfortunately, whenever the kids have been verbally attacked, they and their leaders from “Fierce” (an activist group) cry “Homophobe!” and everyone backs away from a practical solution. Melissa Sklarz, while no longer a resident of the area, has been helpful at times–as has Lisa Canistraci, a new Board member and owner of the Chick Inn. Both of them are LGBT members (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender).

Closing Pier 45 at midnight and opening pier 54 until 2 a.m. was discussed. But a resolution recently proposed mentioned that the group was “Black and Hispanic” in passing–and the air was poisoned. Now, the group is not only screaming Homophobia but also Racism. To their credit, they were well-behaved at the most recent Community Board meeting but a solution was not in the cards.

Of course, calling Greenwich Village residents “homophobic” (or even “racist”) is like criticizing the Pope for being anti-Catholic. People who were born or have moved into Greenwich Village, especially on Christopher Street where its’ gay-oriented spirit of diversity has been accepted for 50 years, are not particularly impressed with the Community Board’s handling of this matter. They just want sleep.

Editor’s Note: If you have a tip or a rumor for this column, please feel free to send it to Tips@SoHoJournal.com. Please provide your name, address and phone contact as well as your e-mail address for confirmation of the info provided. If you wish to leave out your identity, you must supply sources that will confirm it.

Filed Under: Articles | Politics | the Hamptons

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