Supervisor: Code Enforcement Crackdown; Residents At 'Severe Risk'

Police were called after firearms were also discovered at the home, police said

A property owner in East Hampton was slapped with 28 misdemeanor charges after a code enforcement crackdown, according to Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.  

On Monday, Sydney Griffin, of 82 Northwest Landing Road in East Hampton was arraigned before Judge Steven Tekulsky in East Hampton Town Justice Court on 28 misdemeanor charges, related to building and zoning code violations.

According to Cantwell, a code enforcement action by code enforcement officers and town building department personnel on Jan. 24 came after complaints of "deplorable living conditions" at the property.

"The reported conditions at the property are simply outrageous,” Cantwell said. “Not only was the single-family house converted into four separate living units for four different groups of people, but there was no heat and there was refuse and food waste throughout the inside of the house."

In addition, the supervisor said, portable electrical heaters were found in each of the illegal units being run on extension cords  strung throughout the house.  

"Everyone, including the defendant, living in the house was at a severe risk of danger due to a possible fire," he said.

In addition, East Hampton Town Police also responded to the home when unsecured firearms were discovered at the scene, the supervisor said.  

A family member of the defendant voluntarily surrendered the firearms to police, according to Cantwell.

“The coordinated response by code enforcement and the building department, with an assist from the town police, is exactly what we expect from our public safety agencies. The town will not tolerate landlords putting people’s lives at risk in order to maximize their profits. This is a prime example of how coordinating the efforts of all of our public safety agencies to ensure safe and legal housing throughout our town will lead to improvement in the quality of life for all our residents,” Cantwell said.

The case  was adjourned until Feb. 24 to allow the property owner to bring the residence into compliance. 

Griffin also pleaded guilty to four charges in Nov., 2011 in regard to a case involving o28 other building and zoning code violations at the same property, officials said.


Christina DeLauro February 11, 2014 at 07:35 AM
Sydney Griffin, 70, of East Hampton, was stopped at the corner of Newtown Lane and Main Street on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 12:34 p.m. Griffin was driving an uninspected vehicle with a revoked license without insurance. Police arrested Griffin and charged him with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, driving an uninspected vehicle and operating without financial security.
HisNibs February 11, 2014 at 07:56 AM
Mr. Griffin seems to have diminished mental capacity. He needs help.
mackie February 11, 2014 at 08:45 AM
Hopefully, this is only the beginning of cracking down on people who choose not to follow the laws. Maybe they will do the same in Springs. As much as I feel our local government should be all over this, I feel that neighbors have to become neighborly. While growing up, we took care of our neighbors and they did the same. We would not do anything to make their life unpleasant. We cared. Now it seems to not exist. Money seems to rule. It is time to go back. Restore values, kindness, respect, care, understanding and think about people other than oneself.
Eamonn February 11, 2014 at 09:35 AM
The conditions described are clearly unacceptable and the court process is designed to deal with that, but it seems clear that Mr. Griffin needs some "respect, care and understanding" here too. This is a 70 year old well respected man, not a career criminal. He deserves to have his dignity respected by the Town also, and maybe, just maybe Larry, there is more to this man's story - after all he is a taxpayer too. Turning this into some type of "code enforcement crackdown" victory is disingenuous and stinks of politics. Let's dig deeper Larry and see how this man can be helped in the process.
Keto February 11, 2014 at 04:30 PM
I personally know Capt. Griffin. I served as his right hand man during Desert Shield and Storm on the Flag Ship of the U.S. Navy's Cargo Ships. Of all the Captains I served under he is without a doubt the one who looked out for the safety of his Ship and Crew above the rest. Because of his seniority and salary the Capt. was forced to take an early retirement. When I could I would stop in to say hello and was always amazed how mentally and physically he had diminished. Well before his time. I know Family members have tried to help, but he feels he is still the Captain and he will steer his Ship any way he seas fit. I guess its true Men and Ships really do Rot in Port.


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