The Journal News
September 25, 2009

Hen Island critic accuses shareholders of trying to kick him off island

RYE  - Hen Island’s gadfly claims the island’s shareholders are trying to kick him out by enacting a law that would revoke his cottage license for “objectionable conduct.”

“They are desperate people trying to do desperate things,” Ray Tartaglione said of the proposed amendment that will be voted on next month.

Tartaglione, 54, has complained for years that summer residents on the 26-acre island owned by Kuder Island Colony Inc. allow sewage to seep into the Long Island Sound, leave trash on the beach and collect rainwater to bathe and wash dishes.

Though a state Supreme Court justice ruled last year that the waste system on the island was adequate, Tartaglione insists there are environmental and health hazards there.

In a persistent effort to publicize his charges, Tartaglione shows up at City Council meetings with an 8-foot human waste mascot, named “Mr. Floatie,” and drives around in an antique vehicle dubbed the “Floatie Mobile,” with decals of the mascot.

The 1938 Chevy was the target of a rash of vandalism recently when it was spray-painted and rammed and had its windows smashed in separate incidents.

Tartaglione said the proposed bylaw is another attempt to shut down his campaign. The law would revoke a cottage license if a shareholder’s occupancy is considered “undesirable” by two-thirds of shareholders. An additional amendment would make ousted licensees responsible for Kuder Island’s legal fees if they fight the action.

“I don’t think they’ll be successful in passing it,” Tartaglione said. “And if they are, they are opening themselves up to another lawsuit if they try to remove me. My behavior on Hen Island and in the city of Rye is not questionable.”

Ben Minard, president of Kuder Island Colony, declined to comment on the proposed bylaw. He also declined to comment on Tartaglione’s claims that fellow shareholders are behind the vandalism.

Tartaglione has also accused the city of targeting him when it tried to tighten a parking law that would make it easier to tow his Chevy. The City Council deferred a vote on the change, which would let police tow any vehicle that is parked on a Rye street for more than 48 hours. Council members argued that it would inconvenience commuters who travel out of town and park their cars.


Post Navigation