Northport Village Trustee Tom Kehoe says he’s selling his partially constructed home in the village for $695,000 because it’s become too time consuming and costly to legalize the structure.
The home at 51 Mariners Lane has been the source of controversy since village officials found that Kehoe started construction without proper permits. Kehoe resigned as the village’s deputy mayor following pressure from residents and other trustees. He remains a village trustee.
“It’s been divisive in the community,” he said. “I made a mistake, I publicly apologized but it doesn’t seem to some people that it’s enough.”
The house was gutted by fire in 2017. It was demolished in December 2018 with excavation and foundation work done in January and February 2019. Kehoe said he had verbal permission from the village administrator to start building despite not having the correct permits.
“If you talk to some real estate attorneys they’ll tell you it’s very common,” Kehoe said. “The village even cashed my check. The guy said go ahead and start to build and we’ll get your paperwork started for the permit.”
Former village administrator Timothy Brojer, 44, pleaded guilty last week to official misconduct and was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay fines for using village funds to purchase a sliding-glass door, windows and tools that he later used at his Kings Park home, according to Suffolk County prosecutors.
Other construction issues arose including the discovery that the foundation was in the wrong spot. Suffolk County had issued a notice of violation against Kehoe for installing a septic system without a county permit. No work has been done on the house since a stop work order was issued in April.
Kehoe blamed political opponents and media attention for the increased scrutiny over his mistakes.
Joe Sabia, who ran unsuccessfully for Kehoe’s seat in 2018 and has been an outspoken critic of Kehoe, said the trustee got special treatment because of his position and then overstepped those bounds.
“The apology means nothing,” Sabia said. “He doesn’t have regard for the law; he swore to uphold the law and the village of Northport’s codes and then he’s broken every code.”
The home, which Kehoe says is on one of the highest hills in Northport and overlooks the water, was listed this week.
Kehoe also said he will eventually drop two lawsuits he filed against the village in connection to the house.
One was an appeal of a Northport Zoning Board of Appeals ruling regarding variances he received from the board in 2018 that were later rescinded. The second lawsuit claimed the ZBA did not give him notice that the variances were going to be rescinded.
“The house has cost me too much time and money, missed opportunities,” Kehoe said. “I just have to get past it.”