A federal court has ruled that the Village of Muttontown violated the rights of a former trustee when it didn’t notify him of a 2007 action staking claim to land he owned.
U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert’s March 18 decision granted Richard Entel’s motion for procedural due process violations against the village; she denied related claims, including one seeking sanctions against the village. Seybert must still determine damages, and both sides remain locked in a similar dispute in state court.
The ruling pertains to a July 2007 village board resolution that accepted a developer’s 35-year-old offer to donate a 1.1-acre parcel for parkland use. That resolution rescinded a 2005 village decision relinquishing its rights to the property.
In 2003 — a time when the village was not acting on the developer’s standing offer to donate the land — Entel purchased the wooded lot, which abutted his backyard. But when village board leadership changed (several trustees, including Entel, lost to challengers in 2006), the new board accepted the old donation offer.
Attorneys for Entel claim that action was politically motivated. Current village leaders deny this, and say the 2005 action was the invalid one.