I am appalled by the Village of Mamaroneck’s irresponsible legal spending, which is tied to bad decisions made by our village officials.
Over the past ten years, the Village has invited costly lawsuits related to several projects, including Ralph’s Ices, Hampshire, Westchester Day School, Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club, and Sheldrake Estates. Each time, our Village has lost in court just to prevent reasonable development in our village, while adding over $7 million in legal expenses along the way – all taxpayer money!
This year, the Village’s Ethics Board found Planning Board Member Cynthia Goldstein guilty of ethics violations, and then Goldstein brought a lawsuit against the Ethics Board and Board of Trustees. This action has resulted in nearly a quarter of a million dollars in legal fees! We actually paid her attorney fees to sue us!
And in the past two and a half years, the Village has spent $187,069 on litigation pertaining to AVC Properties, which received approvals to build three houses. For Fiscal 2019, Village legal spending was $537,421, and of this amount, $119,530 pertained to a dispute involving AVC Properties, a neighbor and the Village. For Fiscal 2020, total legal spending for the Village was $630,871, and of this amount, $65,216 pertained to AVC Properties and $100,042 pertained to the Goldstein ethics matter.
Yet, in just the past six months, total legal spending has gone to $428,832, and of this amount, $138,909 was related to the Goldstein ethics matter and $23,283 pertained to AVC Properties.
So here’s a question for our Mayor: why can’t you work with the relevant parties to sit down and listen to one another to come to a solution? If you were to do this, there would be less suing and more doing.
This wasteful spending of our tax dollars has got to stop—particularly now, during the pandemic, and when the Village budget has been cut by approximately $2.5 million. I hope that most of you agree that money wasted on litigation is far better spent on vital services, roads being paved, wellness and reimbursement to taxpayers.
I invite you to learn more about our new taxpayer watchdog group, Mamaroneck Taxpayer Watchdogs, by visiting www.mamaronecktaxwatch.com. We are intent on keeping our community informed about taxpayer spending in the Village, which in our opinion, is out of control.
Kevin Duarte Chon
Westchester County, NY
The next Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees Meeting is Jan. 11.