The Old Westbury Equestrian Center could lose its operating permit after it failed to follow fire safety codes and illegally allowed a pair of businesses on its grounds, including a studio for high-priced photo shoots of women in lingerie, according to a resolution introduced Monday by the village's board of trustees.
The resolution would revoke a special zoning exception, first granted in 1992 and renewed every five years since, that allows the equestrian center to operate its stables and riding facility on Store Hill Road. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Feb. 20.
"We think that having an equestrian center in Old Westbury is a very important public service," village Mayor Edward Novick said at Monday's public meeting. "But of course it has to be done in the right manner. It certainly can't be this very strange and inappropriate way of conducting itself."
The resolution indicates that the equestrian center has not paid the village an unspecified amount of fees required to operate the facility. A village spokesman did not provide an amount owed.
The century-old, 28-acre Gold Coast property is owned by Manouchehr "Manny" Malekan, chief executive of a Mineola-based real estate company. Malekan hung up on a Newsday reporter Tuesday when reached for comment.
The horse farm has been the source of controversy for months.
Earlier this month, the Nassau County fire marshal and the Nassau SPCA raided the facility, shuttering one barn with more than two dozen horses and four apartments above it that were home to five employees and two children, for a host of fire code violations. The fire marshal previously issued Malekan 20 citations for failing to have a working sprinkler system, fire alarm system or carbon monoxide system.
A separate barn housing another 23 horses was up to code and was allowed to continue operating.
The equestrian center's website contends there is a "fire alarm and sprinkler system installed in all of the facilities."
Last October, Malekan leased a 6,000-square-foot Tudor-style mansion on the center's grounds to Alli Murphy, a portraitist who uses the property as a "boudoir studio" where she takes pictures of women in lingerie — some on horseback and in the stables — while others are photographed in whips and chains. The photos are displayed on Murphy's website and social media pages.
The business is not licensed to operate in the village, officials said. The village's resolution would not affect any residential permits associated with the property.
Murphy's husband, Jason Green, was hired by Malekan to manage the equestrian center grounds and collect payments from the horse trainers.
The village's building department issued a cease-and-desist letter to Murphy in October, prompting her to temporarily take down the website. But earlier this month, Murphy's "Boudoir Manor" began selling $145 tickets for a two-hour charcuterie-making class on Feb. 10 at the mansion, prompting the building department to issue a second cease-and-desist letter, officials said.
"The Old Westbury Police Department will be on hand the day of the advertised event to ensure no unlawful activities take place," the village told Newsday in a statement.
"The Village of Old Westbury will continue to take immediate action against entities that choose to ignore rules and regulations clearly stated in village code."
Murphy and Green did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The village's resolution indicates that a second business, Landow and Landow Architects AIA, has also been operating illegally on the equestrian center grounds. A message left with the company Tuesday was not returned.
"It's a shame that such a beautiful equestrian property was mismanaged in such a way," said Kalyn Fogerty, a trainer at the center since 2015, who was forced to move 20 horses under her care to a farm in Manorville after the fire marshal's raid. "Maybe in the future someone will take it over that can restore it to its former glory."