Frequently Asked Questions
WHO ARE WE?
We are a group of residents from Mamaroneck who worry about our tax dollars being spent wastefully. The most vocal/active members of our group are Daria Locher and Kevin Duarte, who speak up in Village meetings and post on our Facebook and Twitter.
Property taxes help pave our roads, fund our schools and provide critical services to the Village of Mamaroneck, Town of Mamaroneck, and Village of Larchmont. In the Village of Mamaroneck alone, just in the past decade, millions of hard earned taxpayer dollars have been spent on failed lawsuits against the Village. We'd rather this money be spent on what Village residents really care about: better roads, safer intersections, child- and elderly-care, and community services!
WHAT DO WE DO?
We meet (either virtually or socially distanced) and talk about what our elected officials are doing. We go to town hall meetings and speak up when we hear about wasted tax dollars or inefficient governance. We file Freedom of Information requests to make sure we know more than our elected officials are telling us -- so that we can share our concerns with you and other residents.
Listen for us at the weekly Board of Trustees meetings ask the trustees the hard questions for you!
WHAT ARE ALL THESE LAWSUITS AGAINST THE VILLAGE?
AVC Properties Lawsuit - as of April 2021, costing taxpayers $187,386
The original litigation involves three occupied, single-family homes located on Grove Street. The three homes were approved in May 2015 but challenged by three neighbors. Their challenge was denied. During construction, AVC discovered architectural drawing errors on the approved plans, and submitted amended plans to the Building Department. The ZBA subsequently ordered AVC Properties to fix a fence, window wells and more, and warned that certain certificates would be revoked unless AVC Properties complied.
In November 2018, the Building Inspector determined that AVC failed to modify the fence and window egresses in compliance with the Planning Board’s final plan and on November 1, 2018, the Building Inspector revoked the certificates of occupancy for the homes. Following a hearing before the court, it was undisputed that the only remaining issue is whether to annul the ZBA’s resolutions as they relate to the fence and the window wells. The case was dismissed.
The most recent update is that the Village appealed the decision that favored AVC Properties, launching us into another lawsuit.
Tiekert Lawsuit - as of April 2021, costing taxpayers $62,161
Stuart Tiekert was charged with several violations for renting an illegal apartment in his home. Even though though the Village Board voted against seeking a court order, raising suspicions of favoritism, Mr. Tiekert believed he was wrongly accused of building code violations and sued the VOM. His article 78 lawsuit failed, and a notice of appeal has been filed on his case.
Hampshire Lawsuit - as of April 2021, costing taxpayers $404,028
The basis of the lawsuit was that the Hampshire Country Club property is zoned R-20 for residential housing (this is the type of development that this covers). When they made plans to convert part of their golf course to housing, the Village of Mamaroneck rejected their proposal. As a result, Hampshire Recreation sued the Village of Mamaroneck in June 2020 for $58 million. Hampshire’s Article 78 suit cited eight causes of action alleging that the Village Planning Board was arbitrary and capricious in its decision given the property’s residential zoning and the lengthy environmental review that was undertaken to study its plan. Most recently, Hampshire Recreation sued the Village and Planning Board another $58 million in a takings claim of Hampshire's property.
Goldstein Lawsuit - as of April 2021, costing taxpayers $259,609
In November of 2019 the Board of Ethics found Cynthia Goldstein guilty of multiple ethics code violations and recommended she be removed from the Planning Board. The Ethics Board wrote in its finding that, “The facts of this case are unprecedented. It is the most serious ethics case in memory.” Ms. Goldstein sued the Village and the Ethics Board to set aside the Ethics Board recommendation even though Mayor Murphy chose to keep her on the Planning Board.
After another lawsuit in regards to the Village withholding information compiled for a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request was dismissed, appeals to the original decision brought the case up to the NY Supreme Court, the case was bumped back down to the NY appellate court due to it being an Article 78 matter.
WHAT'S THE BREAKDOWN OF LEGAL SPENDING?
We have a few startling figures for you about legal spending in the Village – how much has been spent in the last 5 years, 1 year, and one lawsuit. We have these figures up on social media, but we wanted to compile them all for you here.
OVER SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS has been spent on litigation in the last 15 years.
$5.75 million – Westchester Day School ($4.75 million alone for the settlement)
$1.22 million – Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht
$74K – Ralph's Ices
Ongoing litigation (these costs are our last updated amounts)
$160k + ongoing – Hampshire Country Club
$145k + ongoing – AVC Properties
- $260k + ongoing – Goldstein
How much has been spent on litigation in the last year? ONE MILLION DOLLARS. (Numbers sourced on our Links page)
$400k + ongoing – Hampshire Country Club
$190k + ongoing – AVC Properties
$60k – Tiekert (130 Beach Avenue)
$260k + ongoing – Goldstein vs. VOM
ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS was spent on a single three-house lawsuit in the last year. (It's the AVC Properties lawsuit you can find on our Links page)
HOW CAN YOU CONTRIBUTE?
Send us a message on our Facebook page; share something you've seen online or heard in person on the Facebook page; and tell your friends about us!
If you think you have a special skill / knowledge of our local governance / would like to contribute monetarily to our mission, reach out to us at email@example.com to see how else you can contribute!