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.


Linda Williams February 10, 2014 at 06:30 PM
Slumlords ... Don't you just love em'
Audrey Stonemetz February 10, 2014 at 06:35 PM
Great job code in forcement! Great job supervisor for your enforcement as well!
HisNibs February 10, 2014 at 06:51 PM
Sydney Griffin is a graduate of The US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point. He was the youngest graduate ever to become a sea captain. I saw him come before the judge several times in East Hampton from 2011 through 2013 regarding overcrowding in his house. He seemed befuddled and unsteady on his feet. On one occasion, an out-of-state family member accompanied him to court, and assured the court that all the problems in Mr. Griffin's home were being taken care of. On another occasion in court, there was mention of a conservatorship. The last time I saw Mr. Griffin in court, the court was assured the overcrowding had been eliminated and all violations cleared. This was about a year ago. Social Services needs to get involved in this situation.
Rich Anderson February 10, 2014 at 08:12 PM
Obviously, no one wants a slumlord like that. But there is simply not enough housing on the east end for locals.
Eamonn February 10, 2014 at 09:36 PM
Interesting Larry that you failed to include the Human Services Department in your praise since it is well known that they initiated this investigation and alerted code enforcement. Hope it's not intentional because it's only fair to give credit where credit is due especially when announcing to the world to your wonderful accomplishments. The truth matters.
frederico February 10, 2014 at 10:52 PM
I got my neighbor converting his single house into 2 family units under my eyes. He got a permit for a second story wide deck with stairs leading to 2nd floor with an entry door; he even told me its intention over the summer to have a tenant. Building inspector said: " he got a permit for the deck, he is extending his master bedroom inside and put a deck with stairs... perfectly legal" Me: "yes but it is obvious that with a 2nd story entry door to the deck with stairs it is going to be a rental not a master bedroom extension and my neighbor told me..."!! His answer was: "plant some trees" The code enforcement said:" you are making an assumption". Once the final inspection passed I bet you the landlord are going to do whatever he wants in his 2nd floor master bedroom extension...a kitchen and a tenant... So clearly the town is really cracking down illegal multifamily housing or they just want to have good conscience with this article?
michael dickerson February 11, 2014 at 07:29 AM
I am always deeply concerned when newspapers report on the confiscation of firearms from the residents of a house just down the road from where I live. Why is there seldom any mention as to the type of fire arms involved? A community hunter with a shot gun is less disturbing to me than an odd ball with a collection of assault weapons and the like. Can you follow up of the Northwest Landing story with the specific number and type of fire arms confiscated there. About a year ago we had a man enter a local school (most likely with a fire arm) with a manner which led to police involvement, arrest and ultimately the confiscation of loaded hand gun in car and several other loaded weapons in his house. I looked for a report on the nature of his use and type of guns involved there. It really does seem the local papers could easily provide this information in their stories. So many aggressive and possibly life threatening situations have developed here in the last several years and I do not believe we get a true picture of just how in danger the community may be. MD northwest
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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