A federal judge has dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought against Oyster Bay by the owner of a dog walking business who alleged that town officials improperly withheld building permits and punished her with code violations.
U.S. District Judge Leonard D. Wexler on Tuesday ruled that the facts alleged by Melanie Nardiello, owner of Two by Four, did not violate federal statutes.
Nardiello alleged in the lawsuit that former planning and development commissioner Frederick Ippolito had refused to act on her 2012 building permit application, and thus denied her due process, because she had refused his sexual advances years earlier.
Nardiello had a building constructed for her business even without obtaining a permit and was subsequently charged in 2013 with code violations. That sequence of events undermined her claim that the town’s actions were retaliatory, the judge wrote.
“The town cited her for violations she agrees she committed,” Wexler wrote. “There is no egregious conduct or bad faith.”
Oyster Bay’s outside counsel, Christopher Kendric of Garden City-based Kendric Law Group PC, said in an interview that she failed to follow the rules that apply to any business owner.
“She did everything backwards,” Kendric said. “She put up a building without receiving a permit to do so.”
Wexler wrote in his decision that Nardiello had availed herself of adequate due process through the state courts where she also sued the town.
On the issue of Ippolito’s alleged sexual advances, he wrote that her complaint failed to allege a connection between them and the town’s actions. Kendric said those allegations were “utterly false.”
Deputy Town Attorney Frank Scalera said the next steps are for Nardiello to submit a building permit application and for the town to inspect the building.
Nardiello’s attorney, Richard Hutchinson of Oyster Bay, said his client is considering an appeal.