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Peter Price v. Village of Westhampton Beach

February 3, 2012

PETER PRICE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VILLAGE OF WESTHAMPTON BEACH, CONRAD TELLER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MAYOR OF THE VILLAGE OF WESTHAMPTON BEACH, TONI-JO BIRK, LEOLA FARRELL, JOAN S. LEVAN, EACH INDIVIDUALLY AND AS TRUSTEES OF THE VILLAGE OF WESTHAMPTON BEACH, PAUL HOULIHAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VILLAGE OF WESTHAMPTON BEACH, BRIDGET NAPOLI, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VILLAGE OF WESTHAMPTON, AND ALBERT TUZZOLO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Seybert, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Pro se Plaintiff Peter Price sued Defendants Village of Westhampton (the "Village"), Conrad Teller, Toni-Jo Birk, Leola Farrell, Joan S. Levan, Paul Houlihan, Bridget Napoli, and Albert Tuzzolo (collectively, "Defendants") in a case that arises primarily out of alleged religious discrimination.

Pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint; for the following reasons, this motion is GRANTED. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint is dismissed with leave to file a Second Amended Complaint within thirty (30) days. Additionally, the Court is in receipt of Plaintiff's January 5, 2012 letter motion to file a Second Amended Complaint. In light of this Order, Plaintiff's motion is moot.

BACKGROUND*fn1

The Village is an incorporated village in Suffolk County, New York. (Am. Compl. ¶ 2.) Defendant Teller is the Village Mayor and Defendant Levan is one of the Village's four Trustees. Levan is also a Trustee of the Westhampton Beach Free Library (the "Library") along with non-party Hank Tucker. Like Levan, Tucker is both a Village and Library Trustee. (Id. ¶ 26.) I. Plaintiff's Property Plaintiff, who is Jewish, lives at 24 Library Avenue (the "Property"). The Property has a main house and an approximately sixteen-by-fifty foot outbuilding (the "Outbuilding") set back from the main house. (Id. ¶ 6.) The Outbuilding, which has two apartments, dates back to 1961. Plaintiff's father built the Outbuilding and submitted the drawings to the then-building inspector. The Outbuilding was inspected, but a certificate of occupancy was apparently never issued. (Id. ¶¶ 6-9.)

II. The Temporary Library "A few years back," Village voters passed a referendum

to build a new Library building, and funds were allocated for a temporary building that would tide the Village over until the new building was complete. (Id. ¶ 26.) One of the proposed sites for the temporary building was an empty piece of land next to Plaintiff's property. The Court will refer to this site, which was owned by non-party Oak Gentry, as the "Gentry Lot." Plaintiff criticized this choice as a waste of money and, as a way to cut costs, he suggested several sites with pre-existing structures. At a public meeting, Plaintiff spoke in opposition to the Gentry Lot proposal but was ultimately unsuccessful in blocking the plan. (Id. ¶¶ 27-35.)

Once the decision to build the temporary library on the Gentry Lot was final, the Library obtained a change-of-use permit from the Village and began making improvements to the land. The Library used Mr. Gentry as a general contractor for the project, paid him rent for using his land, and made improvements to his property worth approximately $100,000. (Id. ¶¶ 36-44.)

III. Plaintiff's Building Violations In 2007, Plaintiff was cited for improperly using the

Outbuilding as an office. (Id. ¶ 56.) In Plaintiff's view, the evidence in support of this charge was the product of an illegal trespass and search by Defendant Napoli. (Id. ¶ 57.) And, at around the same time that Plaintiff received this citation from the Village, the Town of Southampton--not a party here--issued Plaintiff five summonses (which were drafted by Defendant Tuzzolo) for property violations on properties Plaintiff owns in Southampton. (Id. ¶ 75.) These properties are "miles apart" (id.) and, according to Plaintiff, "[t]here were no police calls or any other reason to locate these properties except for 'special' attention . . . [i]n order to receive this collection of summons [sic] I had to be singled out, it had to come from my problems with the Village." (Id. ¶ 77.) Plaintiff appeared in Village Court to defend himself on the first citation, but he claims that the Village attorney did not produce the discovery to which Plaintiff was entitled. (Id. ¶ 74.)

IV. Additional Allegations

Plaintiff alleges three other incidents involving Village employees in or near his home. In the first, Plaintiff was upgrading the windows and siding on his home when a Village building inspector entered his home through a window opening. Plaintiff applied for a building permit to upgrade the windows and siding--presumably as a result of his encounter with the building inspector, but this is not entirely clear--and his property taxes were raised as a result. (Id. ¶¶ 79-86.) Plaintiff points to this as another example of his being "singled out." (Id. ¶ 87.) In the second, Defendants Houlihan and Napoli stood on the Gentry Lot and observed Plaintiff planting arborvitae on Plaintiff's side of the property line. Houlihan falsely told Plaintiff that the plantings were illegal and told Plaintiff that "Oak"--referring to Gentry--"wouldn't like me planting trees." (Id. ¶¶ 88-90.) During this episode, Napoli crossed onto Plaintiff's Property without permission. (Id. ¶ 91.) In the third, a Village police officer threatened to arrest Plaintiff and his wife if they approached the Gentry Lot. (Id. ¶¶ 105-111.)

V. Alleged Anti-Semitism

In addition to the allegations described above, Plaintiff intersperses his Amended Complaint with accusations of anti-Semitism among Village residents and employees. Without recounting all of Plaintiff's allegations, the Court notes that the accusations run from the specific (e.g., id. ¶ 45 (former Village attorney shouted to Plaintiff: "you fucking jews [sic]") to the general (id. ¶ 18 (Village "established a rich heritage of anti-Semitism and bias toward non Christians [sic]"), and it is clear that Plaintiff believes that the Village has treated him unlawfully because ...


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