Adding to the Village’s legal woes is yet another lawsuit. This one was filed by part-time resident Geoffrey Isles objecting to the Tuxedo Club’s dock application approved in 2005 and two existing seasonal docks. At the March 21st Board of Trustees meeting Mr. Isles verbally attacked the Board for rescinding the Stop Work Order issued by Mayor McFadden, and supported by Trustee Hansen, to prevent the Club from preparing the two existing docks for summer usage. The Mayor issued the Stop Work Order personally, a very unusual action for a Mayor of a municipality; it is typically the responsibility of the Building Inspector to issue building violations.

Isles in his suit, who claims to represent a group called Citizens to Preserve Tuxedo Lake, is the only individual named in the suit against both the Village and the Tuxedo Club. For those of us attending the March 21st Board of Trustees meeting, many felt that Isles’ verbal attack was extremely inappropriate, or just plain crude and rude. The Mayor allowed Isles to continue on… and on… without requesting a call for respectful or proper decorum.

The issue over the Tuxedo Club’s Dock approved application has been something of a crusade of McFadden and Hansen since the beginning of their Administration. Thousands of dollars have been spent in legal fees in their attempt to rescind the 2005 approval of the docks as well as their recent claim that two of the existing seasonal docks, which have been in use since the early 1990’s, are not legal. Village records show that the Club has valid Dock Permits for the docks that McFadden, Hansen, and now Isles, claim are illegal. The Tuxedo Club filed a letter with the Board of Trustees last month requesting that the Village study and recommend clarity to the existing Lake Codes. In the interim, the Club agreed to hold their application which is in front of the BAR for materials review.

The real issue is that the existing Codes are unclear and vague as to the limitation of docking and mooring spaces the Club is permitted. At the time the Code was written in 1991, a numerical limitation was not specified because it was understood that the Club had pre-existing rights to former docks. At the March Board of Trustees Meeting, Trustee Darby made a motion, seconded by Trustee Stebbins, to establish a Lake Law Revision Panel to recommend any changes to the Village’s lake laws. The motion was passed 3-0. The Mayor did not vote and Trustee Hansen was absent.

One has to question why Hansen and Isles, whose families are lakefront owners, and the Mayor, continue to burn taxpayers’ (and Club members’) money on this issue. At the same time the Mayor is supporting expanding the size of the Village Boat Club’s docks as well as suggesting that the Village spend $20,000 to build bathrooms dockside for its members, without any defined plan. Perhaps there are more votes to be gained in supporting the Village Boat Club’s request to increase their dockage…..after all, it’s an election year.

Mayor McFadden stated that he is curtailing his comments about the lawsuit, but if you go on to his blog, that is just not the case. It seems that he wishes to continue fanning the flames for what can only be seen as political reasons, as well as blaming others (haven’t we heard that before!), for the suit. Surely the Tuxedo Club would have been forced into legal action against the Village if the Stop Work Order was upheld. This is clearly a situation of one lawsuit versus another.

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