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May 5, 2009 5:42 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

They came, they saw, they crushed, even the six-foot hot dog

May 5, 2009 5:42 PM

Last Friday, May 1, around eight a.m., Springs resident Rian White woke up to find 19 men in his backyard, throwing everything in it into a Dumpster and crushing it.

After a seven-year battle with East Hampton Town and several of his neighbors over the unsightly state of his messy yard—including a conviction for littering on his own property earlier this year in East Hampton Town Justice Court and a $5,000 fine—the East Hampton Town Board finally sent an outside contractor to Mr. White’s property to clear the junk that Mr. White had refused to remove.

Mr. White said he considered the collection a life’s worth of treasure.

“I feel like a wreck, like my civil rights were just trampled all over,” said Mr. White. “They took my kayak and paddles. They took my lawn furniture and my mother’s dining room table. They took everything, everything. They even took the hot dog man, which was deemed legal, remember? And they put it in the back of a garbage truck and crushed it.”

One count against Mr. White during his January trial concerned a 6-foot-tall hot dog statue that he had on his lawn. The jury found him not guilty of having a “non-conforming sign” on his property.

In April, town officials sent a certified letter to Mr. White warning him that he had 10 days before a contractor would arrive to clear out his property.

The letter warned that the contractor would “effect a clearing on any items on his property that have been deemed dangerous to the public health safety and welfare.”

The letter also said that town code enforcement officers had visited Mr. White’s property on 35 occasions over the last seven years and given him many opportunities to clean up.

“There was nothing saying they were going to take everything I own,” Mr. White said.

The contractors, Two Brothers Carting, crushed his Hobie Catamaran, his 1965 Oldsmobile, 1969 Ford Galaxy and 1979 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, a 1908 stove rescued from the Bell estate, his dog’s bed, a duck decoy and firewood.

He was able to salvage his Vespa, his dive gear, and some clam shells from when he won the Town Trustees’ giant clam contest.

“I have an hour worth of footage of the whole thing happening,” Mr. White said. He said he had received legal advice to sue everyone on the Town Board and the town attorney.

“What happened to me,” Mr. White said, “could happen to everybody.”

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I really hope Mr. White sues the Town and gets a lot of $$$ !
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on May 5, 09 6:34 PM
It appears that the town gave him PLENTY of warnings and PLENTY of time to have his yard cleaned up. How can he sue for being lazy?
By haj80 (11), Chapel Hill on May 5, 09 9:51 PM
How many complaints does it take for this to happen?

I have many friends and we don't like green lawns.
By dogfacejones (81), Southampton on May 5, 09 9:57 PM
Everyone who lives in Maidstone Park is overjoyed that the town has finally done what they said they were going to do for years.Everyone who 's had to look at his junkyard of rusting cars,boats, is so relieved they don't have to look at them anymore. The feeling of Rian White forcing himself upon his "helpless" neighbors is gone.It's amazing to just look at emptyness and not be disgusted anymore. Thank you town board.
By maidstoner (2), East Hampton on May 6, 09 12:50 AM
Can you send these guys over to clean up our yard?
By we could run this town! (129), wonderful Wainscott on May 6, 09 7:10 AM
Yes Mr. White got plenty of notice. If he wanted to keep the items he should have put some of them in his home or in storage.. He could have also put a privacy fence around his property so it wouldn't be unsightly to his neighbors.
But that s costly... he could have sold the old cars to collectors and built the fence with that money. and wow a stove from 1908 should not have been in the yard to begin with. That is antique... I'm a pack rat but tend to keep things stored up. next time Mr. White ...more
By collector (1), Gulfport on May 6, 09 12:25 PM
Homeowners who spread herbicide on your lawn and spray pesticides on your trees: BEWARE ... it should have been you
By deKooning (106), southampton on May 6, 09 1:12 PM
can they come pick up my neighbor's ugly lion statue that is tied to a tree?
By MartyMcDougal (24), Providence on May 6, 09 2:29 PM
Wow, we all have someone like this in our neighborhoods. Collector, the neighbors could just as easy put up hedges and fences. Instead the did trample on his privacy and civil rights as a homeowner. Be very careful, you step on someones toes and they will have Two Brothers at your doorstep taking away your lawn jockeys! They are very offensive to the little people of the world, ya know.
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on May 7, 09 9:45 AM
Mr. White was given more than ample opportunity to "do the right thing" and tidy up his place and refused. When you have 200 tons (as reported in another article) on a property of less the 1/4 of an acre there is an obvious problem. His claim that he is on a dead end street and no one passes by is crap! Fanning Ave is hardly a dead end street, and if he was taking the stand that if it is not seen it can't hurt anyone, then he should have put a fence around his property to block it from the sight ...more
By vdog711 (2), East Hampton on May 7, 09 9:53 AM
I wonder if the hot dog man was packing a 45 he must have been being deemed dangerous to the public's health and welfare.trinty should have saved room in there trucks[why trinity why not a local carter?oh wait there american and lazy?]for the town hall mess just take a look out back far worse than ryan's ever was they have acres of junk out back.or just take a ride across the street from damarks deli on three mile harbor road up the hill on left.i could keep going but!p.s.don't forget the VW buses
By pinga (90), hamptonbays on May 7, 09 12:58 PM
Watch-this action is going to cost taxpayers a few million dollars.
By Lefty46 (56), Westhampton on May 7, 09 1:04 PM
I don't think this was entirely the correct thing to do..I find it hard to believe that our public officials could not come to an agreement or defiinately something MUCH more cordial than this. There are, as someone pointed out, MANY yds collecting tons of Stuff around here...Spring Close Hwy little farm,muir blvd,and a couple in Whalebone...too say the least. Wrong way to handle it..You are really not the Big Bad Boss of all of us Bill. Take a hint and leave so we can get our neighbors back. Insane...
By shopgirl (1), East HAmpton on May 7, 09 10:45 PM
WOW!!!! IT'S AMAZING!!!! Guildi and McPhearson can build beautiful homes, stuff them with illegal aliens, BLOCKBUSTER neighborhoods,set up PERMENENT DUMPSTERS!!!! at each house they built and do mortgage FRAUD!!!------IT TOOKI THE TOWN OF SOUTHAMPTON CLOSE TO 7 YEARS JUST TO CLOSE THE ILLEGAL HOUSING DOWN!!!! yet one local guy living in his poor house is considering what I just told you all---immediately taken to an inept form of justice...(I don't agree that is OK for neighbors to live in pigstyes ...more
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on May 8, 09 11:14 AM
I agree with shopgirl. And I have to wonder if the neighbors that complained are new to the neighborhood. What makes people think that they can move into a rural neighborhood and start rearranging people's lives? If the neighbors didn't like the scenery, why did they move there in the first place? I am sorry, I think Mr. White's rights were abused.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on May 8, 09 12:42 PM
H
By Just (14), Hampton Bays on May 9, 09 6:08 PM
HEY ALL OF YOU PEOPLE WHO THINK YOUR LIFE SHOULD BE PICTURE PERFECT. THIS IS UNFAIR TO THIS PERSON AND DEEP DOWN YOU KNOW IT. THIS IS HIS BACK YARD FULL OF HIS TREASURES. MAYBE SINCE YOU ALL HATED LOOKING AT IT WHY NOT GIVE HIM A FEW BUCKS TO CLEAN THINGS UP. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU TO DISPLAY SUCH HATE AND DISREGARD TO ANOTHER FOR YOUR OWN SELF SERVING NEEDS. YOUR BACK YARDS MAY LOOK PICTURE PERFECT BUT ITS MY BET YOUR HOMES & LIVES ARE FILLED WITH HATEFUL TRASH.
By Just (14), Hampton Bays on May 9, 09 6:17 PM
MY HUSBAND IS SO GLAD WE MOVED TO NEW HAMPSHIRE BECAUSE IF ANYONE TRYED THAT UP HERE HE WOULD LEGALLY SHOOT THE LOT OF THEM. " LIVE FREE OR DIE". WE HAVE WHAT WE CALL RIGHTS HERE AND WERE GLAD WE ARE NOT LIVING IN THE FUDAL SYSTEM THAT OUR FORMER HOME TOWN HAS BECOME.
By Just (14), Hampton Bays on May 9, 09 6:24 PM
This strikes me as fundamentally un-American.
By Blackjordan (15), Sag Harbor on May 11, 09 12:05 AM
All of you defending Mr. White and his trash, how many of you live next to him and have to look at that trash every day?
Didn't think so.

What if this collection of crap caught fire, would all of you defenders be happy to see firemen get hurt doing thier job on this infested property?

This wacko was told to clean up or we'll do it for you plnety of times, don't expect me to feel bad for someone too lazy to clean up after themselves.
By NYC (7), Amagansett on May 11, 09 10:53 AM
^Nice strawman about the 'Firemen getting hurt'

Bottom line, his yard was a mess, but I don't think the action was warranted in its entirety.

There was alot of junk, but there was also stuff. One mans junk is another mans stuff, and vice versa.
By C Law (354), Water Mill on May 11, 09 1:24 PM
Is it me or did that hot dog in Rian White's yard look a little like Dick Cheney?
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on May 11, 09 4:37 PM
Because they don't want no hillbillies in the Hamptons. No, we can't have that.

If you want to live in a place where the law is not followed to the letter just because someone is "different", then by all means, support the local gov't on this issue. But, do you really want to live in a place where the local gov't can come down on someone like this with NO RESTRAINT just because he is deemed "weird"? (I like weird people, by the way. Normal folks are boring.)

So, put up a hedge. ...more
By Undertow (64), Southampton on May 12, 09 9:23 AM