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1979 Comments by Turkey Bridge

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Bob Morrow hires public relations firm to help out

These PR folks will have to be magicians to sell Mr. Morrow's sorry plan at this time. It's been walked on, spat upon and dumped on -- rightly so -- and what's left isn't much of a product. Bob Morrow should cut his losses and build whatever he can as of right, because he's not getting a PDD." Jul 20, 10 2:48 PM

Southampton Town lawmakers walk out of discussion on MTA lawsuit

Chris Nuzzi and his friends need a new drama coach and a new legal advisor. Their lockstep walkout, less than a minute after Jim Malone made his motion, was a laughably obvious setup, and they're wrong on the law. What the Supervisor was seeking, dates of service, is in the public domain -- there's no privilege or confidentiality for something anyone can look up in court records. The Republicans are just trying to protect their pet law firm from public scrutiny, and the firm lawyer, Ms. DeJong, of course played along.

See, back when this suit was brought, Anna Throne-Holst and Bridget Fleming tried to save taxpayer money and let the Town Attorney handle it, but no, Mr. Nuzzi, Ms. Graboski & Mr. Malone -- the same three who walked out this week -- steamrollered the hiring of Ms. DeJong's well-connected firm for $50,000. (See 27east, June 9, "Southampton Town Board debates who will handle MTA lawsuit.") This boondoggle inspired me to post a little ditty, the Southampton Republican Anthem, that I'll repeat here, because it sure still seems to apply:

You take care of your good pals
And they'll take care of you.
You don't need a reason,
It's just what you do.

You help me and I'll help you,
That's how you make your mark.
If you can't do it in the light,
Just do it in the dark.

Retainers, contracts, cushy jobs,
With these we get our way.
Just put us in office and
We'll do it every day.

See, right now it's the summertime,
A long way till November.
With luck, when comes Election Day,
Nobody will remember." Jul 25, 10 6:22 PM

More accounting mistakes discovered in Southampton Town; audit to be released

Seems like it never ends. The damage inflicted by this cozy-comfy-chummy-careless crowd, that the people unwisely elected time after time, just goes on and on. In this case it was the Republicans (and still is, going by the Town Board majority), but it could be any party that stays in power too long. The lesson is, don't let one group become entrenched." Jul 25, 10 10:48 PM

Southampton Town lawmakers walk out of discussion on MTA lawsuit

To those who say the new Town Attorney, Michael Sordi, is not capable of managing this MTA lawsuit, I say look at the two trailers for homeless sex offenders that Suffolk County inflicted on Southampton Town alone when they were supposed to be rotated. Along comes Mr. Sordi, and for the first time in three long years, we get results -- first a temporary restraining order, and then a permanent injunction against the County's expanded trailer.

Anyone who wants to spend $50,000 of our money on outside counsel, when we have a perfectly able Town Attorney with a full legal staff on salary, should have to justify this added expense. This is especially so when the Town is already in deficit due to longtime Republican mismanagement. In fact, however, neither Chris Nuzzi nor Nancy Graboski nor Jim Malone has ever given any reason why Southampton needs the outside firm, Devitt Spellman Barrett of Smithtown for this suit. No special expertise or experience or other basis has been demonstrated, leaving only the conclusion that this is a matter of "connections." What else is new?" Jul 26, 10 12:02 PM

More accounting mistakes discovered in Southampton Town; audit to be released

Once again, reg rep, you make this charge, and once again, I point out that: [1] As a matter of legal responsibility, the Supervisor (all Republicans in the period we're discussing) is the chief financial officer of the town and ultimately accountable for its money. [2] As a matter of practical experience, the Supervisor and the people who work for him or her have a host of ways they can conceal financial irregularities from the Town Board." Jul 26, 10 12:16 PM

My comments are clear and need no further explanation, reg rep. Your alleged requests for clarification are merely attempts to confuse the issue. If you need any more help, I'll refer you to what Obbservant posted at 1:54 AM on 7/27. I'll also say that, while Skip Heaney may have been primarily responsible for this disaster, it grew out of the culture of cronyism and incompetence that festered under Republican Supervisors Cannuscio and Lang and others, going back over the long, sorry history of Republican misrule in Southampton." Jul 27, 10 2:49 PM

Southampton Town lawmakers walk out of discussion on MTA lawsuit

Reg rep, that may be a good suggestion about the cars, but it doesn't in any way invalidate my suggestion about the law firms. Get a grip, please." Jul 27, 10 2:57 PM

I can back it up in this sense, Nature -- long experience shows [1] that matters turn on the lawyer who is arguing in the courtroom in about 90% of the cases, and [2] that cases with a high level of emotional content, like the sex-offender trailer issue, are determined almost entirely by the oral argument. On that one, Mr. Sordi himself argued both the TRO and the permanent injunction, successfully obtaining both from the court. You say I'm giving Mr. Sordi a lot of credit, but it seems that you're trying pretty hard to tear him down.

Experience also shows that when able and motivated staff lawyers like the people workking for our Town Attorney are given a role in significant litigation like this MTA matter (as a welcome change from parking tickets and public urination), they rise to the challenge and perform quite well. I'm closely acquainted with this subject and have seen this result time and time again. If you want to make a case for the walkout members of the Town Board, go to it, but not on the backs of our legal department.
" Jul 27, 10 3:17 PM

Reg rep, you say we have to spend $50,000 on outside lawyers because "the town needs to win this case," but no one has ever identified any special expertise or special experience that the outside firm, Devit Spellman, has which makes them any better qualified for this MTA case than the Town Attorney and his staff of lawyers. Why is that? Because there isn't any. This is a matter of taking care of the friends of the Republican/Conservative faction by giving them $50,000 out of the public treasury. It's a boondoggle, pure and simple." Jul 28, 10 9:55 PM

I'll say it once more, reg rep, slowly, no big words: When you want to spend $50,000 of the people's money, you should have a good reason. No one has ever stated a good reason why this outside firm is any better able to run the lawsuit than the Town Attorney's office. Do they have special knowledge? Do they have special experience? If you know of any, tell us. " Jul 29, 10 11:51 AM

Wrong again, reg rep. The Town Board didn't vote unanimously to retain the Republicans' pet law firm for $50,000 that we didn't have to spend. Nuzzi, Malone and Graboski voted for it, and Throne-Holst and Fleming opposed it, maintaining that the Town Attorney's staff could do the job. (27east, 6/9/10, "Southampton Town Board debates who will handle MTA lawsuit.")" Jul 30, 10 10:12 AM

Guilty as charged, reg rep. I suspect the Supervisor wanted to get the answers from Ms. DeJong instead of Mr. Sordi because she wanted to ask Ms. DeJong why this expensive outside firm was serving the MTA and other defendants two months late, actually falling the Bookhaven town attorney's office. [See the July 29 newspaper story.] It's a very fair question, and I imagine that's where she was going, and also that's probably why Ms. DeJong was so hot to get out of there, as she did, because she likely had no good answer.

As to the $70 million suit re the incident with the lady outside the air base, the procedure is for the Town Attorney to make a recommendation as to whether his office should handle a case or that outside counsel be retained. The Town Board majority ignored his recommendation on the MTA case. If he suggests the hiring of an outside firm on this other matter, then I wouldn't object if the Board did that." Jul 30, 10 11:44 AM

Sorry -- should be "actually falling behind the Brookhaven town attorney's office" above." Jul 30, 10 11:49 AM

I agree that we don't know all the answers on the MTA lawsuit controversy, but we're all entitled to speculate, which is just what I meant by the use of those speculative words, as you correctly note. As to the relationship between the $70 million suit and the MTA matter, maybe I didn't make myself clear. What I meant was that you start with the Town Attorney's recommendation -- that's the process -- and no, the Board doesn't have to follow it, but if they don't, they should be able to state a good reason, especially when it involves spending $50,000, and no one has stated that reason in the MTA case." Aug 1, 10 11:36 AM

"Pet peeve" is putting it mildly when the tab comes to $50,000. I fear you're right, reg rep, that there won't be any explanation, and that's part of what makes me so peevish. I'm not saying there should be an explanation for every little thing, but this isn't a little thing. Also, we're paying a guy over $100,000 a year to be our Town Attorney, our legal advisor. It seems that the normal course would be to follow his recommendation on something like this. Two things flow from that: [1] If we go against his recommendation in a lot of cases, he shouldn't be in the job -- it's like a judge who gets reversed too often. [2] If we go against his recommendation in a few cases, like this one, there should be an explanation of why we did that." Aug 3, 10 11:48 AM

Given how new the Town Attorney is on the job, it's a safe bet that his recommendation hasn't been turned down before, but that's not the point. The point is that when his recommendation isn't followed, that's outside the normal course of things and should therefore require a stated reason, which hasn't happened here. Contrary to what you say, it's not just about outside counsel. Whether it's the retention of outside counsel or the awarding of a contract or rubber-stamping a developer's proposal, it's all part of a pervasive culture of cronyism, taking care of the pals, that inevitably develops when one crowd is in power for too long. It could as easily have been the Democrats if they'd held power for a long time, but it happens to be the Republicans in this town. " Aug 3, 10 9:53 PM

MTA lawsuit spawns internal bickering, finger-pointing at Southampton Town Hall

It seems that, when the Republican/Conservative majority's pet law firm is hired, over the recommendation of the Town Attorney, over the opposition of the Supervisor and another Board member, for $50,000 of the public's money, when the lawsuit could have and should have been handled in-house by the Town Attorney, just because they are the majority's pals, they should at least have the decency to do the job in a timely manner. But nooooo........." Aug 4, 10 4:19 PM

Southampton Town lawmakers walk out of discussion on MTA lawsuit

Reg rep, you still don't get it, or refuse to get it, and I don't know how to make it any clearer to you except to say re-read my last comment with a little care." Aug 5, 10 9:50 AM

MTA lawsuit spawns internal bickering, finger-pointing at Southampton Town Hall

If anyone wasted the public's time and money, it was the walkout members -- Nuzzi, Graboski & Malone -- for doing a whole drama thing over a simple request for public-record information (dates of service), as to which there was no confidentiality and hence no need for a private executive session, contrary to what the walkouts claimed. Some blame also goes to the Devitt Spellman lawyer, Ms. DeJong, for playing along with this cheap grandstanding by the Republican/Conservative coalition. " Aug 6, 10 10:03 AM

Southampton Town lawmakers walk out of discussion on MTA lawsuit

Reg rep, this is one of the more ridiculous things, of very many ridiculous things, that you've ever posted -- with your record, accusing someone else of bias regarding Anna Throne-Holst. Unbelievable. (It always comes down to ATH for you, doesn't it?)

Anyway, as to your question, let's see. Well, 27east reports that Devitt Spellman is "handling numerous legal matters for the town." (7/28/10, "MTA lawsuit spawns internal bickering . . ." etc.) The same piece reports that the initial retention of the firm for this case was last year, back in the Republican administration of Linda Kabot. A search of 27east pieces reveals, only since 2008, twelve articles referring to Devitt Spellman . While several of those pieces involve the firm's representing villages rather than the town, the governing officials of those villages are almost all Republicans, so that this, together with the fact that last three town Supervisors before ATH were Republicans, establishes that all this hiring of Devitt Spellman was by Republican administrations. Since Devitt Spellman is only one of a huge number of law firms on Long Island, and since there's no evidence that they have any special expertise to distinguisgh them from all the others, it's clear that Devitt Spellman is the favored law firm of the local Republicans.

Another thing -- you've been banging on the non-issue that I've never protested the hiring of outside counsel before, so why now? Simple -- no one has protested it before, in the time that I've been commenting on these matters. It's never been a disputed item before this, so of course I've not had occasion to address it, and neither has any of us. " Aug 6, 10 2:43 PM

For all your bluster, reg rep, the simple truth remains that Chris Nuzzi, Nancy Graboski and Jim Malone forced the Town to spend $50,000 of our money on outside counsel unnecessarily when the Town Attorney and his staff could have handled the case. " Aug 6, 10 10:25 PM

MTA lawsuit spawns internal bickering, finger-pointing at Southampton Town Hall

Just look at our friend reg rep frantically trying to spin what the executive director of the State Committee on Open Government said. This is the same person who called me desperate under a related article, but her performance here reaches a new level of desperation. Paraphrasing the man (she doesn't dare quote him directly), she stresses the word "appears" and manufactures the notion that it "does not sound like he is 100% sure." Let's look at what the man really did say: "If the discussion does not involve litigation strategy, but rather a description of events that are evidenced in public court records, it is unlikely that an executive session could properly be held." Is that "sure" enough for you, reg rep?

So the executive director, Mr. Freeman, didn't just say maybe these things could be discussed in public; he went much further and said they probably could NOT be discussed privately. This, by the way, is what I've been saying all along -- info in the public domain doesn't require an executive session. But I didn't go far enough, because it looks like the executive session that the Nuzzi/Graboski/Malone walkout coalition was demanding wasn't just unnecessary, but actually would have violated the State's open government policy. Wow!" Aug 6, 10 11:19 PM

Southampton Town lawmakers walk out of discussion on MTA lawsuit

But the Town Attorney and his assistants do have an idea of their workload, and he said they could handle the case, but Mr. Nuzzi and his friends ignored that professional advice. You can't get around these basic facts." Aug 8, 10 11:38 AM

Maertz to face off against LaValle in Calcaterra's stead

Talked with some people who've been making phone calls on behalf of Ms. Calcaterra . Doesn't seem to matter what the caller says about her, but when the caller says her opponent's been up in Albany for 34 years while the State Senate's been deteriorating into the joke it is now, people really perk up and say it's time for a change. This suggests that whether it's Regina Calcaterra or Jennifer Maertz running against him, Ken Lavalle's going to have a big problem in the present anti-incumbent climate." Aug 19, 10 9:10 PM

And would it also be "wishful drum-beating" if you said the same thing about Tim Bishop? If you did, I wouldn't call it that. It's true, and despite the fact that Mr. Bishop has only been where he is for 10 years (versus Ken Lavalle's 34 years), and also despite the fact that Bishop's U.S. House of Representatives hasn't become quite the joke that Lavalle's N.Y. State Senate has, and also despite the fact that each of Bishop's potential opponents is badly flawed,it will be a problem for him, because folks are generally down on incumbents this time around." Aug 25, 10 11:41 AM

Moody's upgrades Southampton Town bond rating

Let's hear it for Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Comptroller Tamara Wright! This upgrade means they'll be able to sell bonds paying 2.5% interest instead of 3.5%. Do the math -- that's a major saving for the Town. This new administration is making big progress in getting out of the hole in which the Republicans left us. " Aug 25, 10 11:53 AM

Hey, I'll do the math for you -- on this present issue of $22.8 million in bonds, the saving will be $228,000, and that's just for these bonds, but the benefits will continue. Given the Republican money disasters, it's been a long time since Southampton has had anything to cheer about in the financial area." Aug 25, 10 12:00 PM

Southampton Town Board adopts retirement measures

Chris Nuzzi is right, of course. We have to wait to fill these positions until we have a reliable Republican Supervisor to take care of the good old boys and girls." Aug 26, 10 11:15 AM

Moody's upgrades Southampton Town bond rating

Let's go ahead and grant everything that ridiculous and ICE and reg rep are saying, even though it's a very big stretch. Let's canonize Saint Linda for saving us from financial disaster (conveniently forgetting her long service in the bad old days as top assistant to the Supervisor and Town Board member). But hey, who caused that financial disaster? If not Ms. Kabot, then it was the Republicans who preceded her, i.e., the Heaney crowd, the same crowd that hasn't forgiven Saint Linda for beating them, the same crowd that's doing everything they can to sink ATH, the same crowd whose most visible figure, Chris Nuzzi, voted all alone not to accept the 2009 financials that ridiculous says focus on the Kabot cuts. Maybe Mr. Nuzzi doesn't want to give Ms. Kabot the credit you all say she deserves? Talk to him, not me. " Aug 30, 10 11:06 AM

Beach erosion study delayed again

Back a few posts, HW Jablome says no one can name anything Tim Bishop has done. I think HW needs to get out of the shower or wherever he's been for the past couple of years. What's Tim Bishop done? Ask the veterans who now have better care, better hospitals and better treatment through his efforts. Ask the property owners who've been saved property tax increases because of the education funding he obtained. Ask the people who have jobs at construction projects he spearheaded. Tim Bishop supported vital Wall Street reform, the Credit Card Holders' Bill of Rights and opening up the striped bass fishery. He voted against a Congressional pay raise. He needed only 1,250 signatures on his designating petitionms this year, but got over 8,600. He's endorsed by the NY League of Conservation Voters, the LI Federation of Labor, the Democratic Party, the Independence Party and the Working Families Party. Try calling his office to get something done and you'll see what action is. Check it out, HW. Wake up and smell the coffee." Aug 31, 10 11:35 AM

Some people out here care about fish. Are you really from Springs? Doesn't sound like it, when you're dissing fish like that. As far as the rest of it goes, it's all in the public record, and you don't diminish it by trotting out a lot of old fraternity pranks that you'll do if it's true. It is true, but save us the dramatics. " Aug 31, 10 3:39 PM

Lights still on as radio station wins short reprieve

Small change to some, maybe, but once more Tim Bishop is out there taking care of business, doing what needs to be done in the real everyday world." Sep 1, 10 1:46 PM

Maertz to face off against LaValle in Calcaterra's stead

My mistake -- Tim Bishop has only been in office for 8 years, not 10 years." Sep 9, 10 12:30 PM

Rechlers say they are running out of patience

Many people say that if PDDs are to continue in Southampton, there must be a clear definition of the significant public benefit which is the condition for granting PDD status. It's a hard notion to define, and the Town may have to proceed by giving examples of what would and wouldn't constitute a significant public benefit. Experience has shown that, say, a minimal provision for affordable housing doesn't cut it. Something else that would be hard to justify as a significant public benefit is the preservation of the archtecturally undistinguished, historically unremarkable, and structurally unsafe building called the Canoe Place Inn. It will be a tragedy if we let a misguided group of obsessive boosters push us into yet another instance of selling out Southampton for chump change. " Sep 10, 10 8:26 PM

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