Legal Lunacy in Tuxedo Park | May 23, 2007
Why did Mayor McFadden negotiate to buy out the Sterling Place development at the same time he was denying them water access? By ignoring obvious legal safe guards, he set us up for a State Supreme Court law suit from Sterling Forest LLC.  Despite incurring significant legal costs, Tuxedo Park lost big-time, and now we are spending additional tax dollars on appeal.

Still undaunted, Mayor McFadden has evidently taunted Sterling Forest into filing yet another suit against our Village, this time in Federal Court!

If the Mayor is truly trying to protect our Village borders, why is he hurling insults at Sterling and further provoking animosity?  Why is he telling the press “It is not that we don’t want new customers” while he is rejecting their very customers?  Why is he referring to Sterling’s $600,000 homes as “low income housing” and openly suggesting “crime would go up”?  What do these public proclamations buy us besides the label of elitist snobs? (See Another Day…..Another Lawsuit - May 1, 2007)

Belligerent tactics do not work in today’s world and our Mayor is either decidedly out of touch or unwittingly playing for the other team. He has a knack for overestimating his influence and underestimating that of local authorities and of powerful neighbors such as Sterling Forest LLC and Tuxedo Reserve with their developments on our borders. Mayor McFadden ignores the advice of his own attorneys and knowledgeable residents and leaves our Village vulnerable to legal attacks.

The same irresponsible behavior was exhibited by Mayor McFadden last year when, unprovoked, he sought to publicly smear and slander the reputations of Jake Lindsay and Peter Regna. When presented with the pertinent documents, which he previously had failed to read, Mayor McFadden agreed to publish a retraction and “some sort of” apology.  Instead, he reneged and waffled until, eight months later, Lindsay and Regna’s only option was a defamation suit against the Mayor.  The Village expended over $30,000 in legal fees only to end up with our Mayor agreeing to the very same “retraction and regrets” message he had promised a year earlier!

The approach that the Mayor has taken with the N.Y.S. D.E.C., for example, has again placed the Village, and we taxpayers, in an unnecessary confrontation.  The Mayor’s approach to the Tuxedo Lake Dam situation has precipitated yet another law suit, this time against the residents of Tuxedo Park, the members of the Tuxedo Club and the Elene De Saint Phalle Trust. Mayor McFadden acknowledges that the Village shares responsibility for the dam’s reinforcement. But it is too late, the DEC’s legal action against us has already hit. 

Mayor McFadden also seems to have locked horns with the DEC over their Sewer Moratorium in our Village.  His early quest to accelerate development in Tuxedo Park appeared to fully disregard issues of sewage, flooding and environmental impact.  Hopefully, our Mayor will flip-flop on this misguided crusade since the DEC is not backing off their imposed Moratorium. (See You didn't read this in Tuxedo Inside/Out: Mayor McFadden is Pro-Development (March 2006)

Still, Mayor McFadden continues to be a magnet for litigation, and it often seems he is actually chiding potential litigants to sue.  Casting the Tuxedo Club as Villain, our Mayor and his friend Geoff Isles have caused divisiveness and discontent in our tiny community.

By allowing Isles extra podium time merely to rile against the Club and the Trustees, Mayor McFadden has set a poor example for quelling disputes.  Most of us prefer the gentlemanly approach with which Stebbins and Darby thoughtfully established an advisory panel to review Tuxedo Lake laws (over the objection of McFadden who voted to obstruct the convening of this panel, with Hansen absent).

By contrast, the Mayor announced the Isles lawsuit even before it was filed in the Village Office.  Now Tuxedo Park residents (and Tuxedo Club members) are faced with the significant burden of yet another legal action and its attendant expenses for all taxpayers.  This year our legal expenditures will be in excess of $135,000, a Village record. (See Legal Expenses Continue to Grow (November 27, 2006)

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