RYE, NY - Rye City Mayor Douglas French is currently being investigating for "building without a permit" by the Rye City Manger's Office. A violation was issued in July to the owners of 13 Richard Place in Rye which, according to Rye City Assessment Rolls, is registered to Douglas and Carrie French.
According to Summary Record Card of the property, the violation filed over the summer categorizes the unreported action taken as "possible finished attic". Both pictures and descriptions provided by a recent MLS listing of the property clearly show a finished attic.
However, recent information reveals the attic as one of many potential violations. The Assessment roll and multiple other city documents identify the home as a two-family residence with "no recorded improvements of any kind since 1949".
According to the MLS listing, the property is now a single family residence and features new skylights, a new eat in kitchen, as well as upgraded roofing and heating systems.
An indepedent examination of the mortgage records conducted by Ray Tartaglione, a local activist, indicated the couple never disclosed to lenders that the property was a two family residence. Rather, the couple attested the property as “improved by a one family residence only".
The MLS lisiting also confirmed that French has been renting the home for over a decade, and that the alleged "untaxed" and "un-inspected" renovations that converted the property into a single family home allowed French to increase the rent by an estimated 50%.
According to Tartaglione, Executive Director of HealtheHarbor.com, French promised to "enforce local environmental and building laws long completely ignored out on Rye's offshore cottage community known as Hen Island" when he ran for office in 2009. Tartaglione feels that French has yet to make good on this promise.
Tartaglione cites French's own alleged building violations as reasons for neglecting the alleged illegal building operations on Hen Island.
Tartaglione also added that the City of Rye has written hundreds of violations for illegal construction activity and doled out thousands of dollars in penalties and permit fees to Rye residents since French purchased the home in 1992.
Rye City Manager Scott Pickup categorized the case as "not unusual", and confirmed that Mayor French has fully cooperated with the ongoing investigation. Pickup also acknowledged that due to the passing of Building Inspector Vincenzo Tamburro, the investigation has progressed slower than anticipated.
"The City is handling the case like we would any other," Pickup said over the phone, "and Mayor French is entitled to all the rights of any other homeowner".
Mayor French, who is reportedly out of town until Tuesday, could not be reached for comment.
To view the public records of the Richard Place home please visit Healtheharbor.com.