Representatives of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club are demanding Southampton Town remove a street sign they say a town official illegally installed on their property and later sent a text about it “with a sarcastic note” to one of its most prominent members.
Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor has argued that a former portion of St. Andrews Road, which serves as a private driveway on the prestigious course, was never properly abandoned by the town and should be reopened to through traffic. Highway crews installed a road sign in December denoting the intersection of St. Andrews and Tuckahoe roads, a public street that bisects the golf course.
Gregor, an Independent who in November is challenging Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, a Democrat, took a photo in front of the sign on Dec. 31. He then texted it to golf club member and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with the message “Happy New Year.”
“I wanted to tease him,” Gregor said in a recent interview in his office. “It’s funny.”
Representatives of the golf course did not agree.
“This New Year’s Eve episode was just one piece of the Superintendent’s now nine-month campaign of unprovoked demagoguery against SHGC,” golf club attorney Anthony Pasca wrote in a June 11 letter to the town board. “He apparently took it upon himself to install the road sign as a way of needling SHGC.”
The sign was installed without approval from the town board, which is required for new signs, as Gregor said he was merely replacing a previous sign that was removed before the 2018 U.S. Open golf tournament. Pasca said in his letter that there was never a street sign there.
Shortly after the letter was sent to the town, Bloomberg and his family donated $15,000 to Schneiderman’s re-election campaign. Bloomberg donated $3,000 on June 18, according to recent campaign filing disclosures. His partner, Diana Lancaster Taylor, ex-wife Susan Bloomberg and daughters Emma and Georgina Bloomberg all donated $3,000 to the campaign on June 22, records show.
“Mike Bloomberg cares a lot about good local government, which is why he is supporting Supervisor Schneiderman this year and has in the past as well,” said Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser.
Gregor in September proposed a plan to reopen the road to allow those traveling on the public portion of St. Andrew’s Road access to Tuckahoe Road. A traffic light at the intersection of Tuckahoe Road and County Road 39 makes it safer route for those making a turn on the busy thoroughfare, he said.
Gregor said there is no evidence the town formally abandoned that portion of St. Andrew’s Road following a three-way road swap with Suffolk County and another private property owner in 1932. Schneiderman said the town attorney’s office and a private title company have reviewed the matter and determined the road is indeed private.
“We did a fair amount of investigation,” Schneiderman said.
The town planning board on May 23 approved an application for the club to install a gate at the driveway under the condition that it be removed if it is later determined the club does not own the road.
Gregor said he hopes the matter can be resolved without litigation.
“That would be the last thing I would like,” he said. “Perhaps we could work as neighbors.”