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Judge: 4 can't join Marion Carll Farm lawsuit

The gate to the Marion Carll Farm in

The gate to the Marion Carll Farm in Commack. Carll's heirs have sued to get back the property from the school district. (Aug. 23, 2012) Credit: Ed Betz

A judge has denied the motion of four Commack residents who wanted to join a lawsuit against the school district filed by heirs of Marion Carll.

Vito J. Cottone, Daniel Fusco, Arthur J. Reilly Sr. and James Tampellini filed a motion, denied on Dec. 19, according to court documents, to intervene in the July suit filed by relatives of Carll, who are seeking the return of a roughly 9-acre farm that dates to 1701 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Carll's kin believe the Commack school district has failed to live up to her vision for the property.

The four others wanted to intervene because they worried the district did not want to preserve the farm and they disagreed with the way the district was handling the lawsuit, according to court documents and earlier statements by the foursome's attorney, Richard Handler of Amityville.

The district has asked that the Carll family's lawsuit be dismissed and the restrictions on the property lifted.

"While the intervenors undoubtedly have a genuine concern over the outcome of this case, they have not demonstrated a real and substantial interest sufficient to support intervention," said State Supreme Court Judge Daniel Martin, court documents show.

"To allow intervention in this case would permit any resident or taxpayer to intervene in an action in which the resident disagreed with the legal strategy of a school district or municipality," Martin said.

A disappointed Tampellini said the four plan to follow the suit and watch what the district does.

"They have made statements that they are going to defend the suit . . . that their defenses are valid, and therefore we expect that they would seek to have the case dismissed and not settle it right away," he said.

The district's attorney, Eugene Barnosky of Melville, said his clients "believe the court's decision was proper."

He said the next step in the suit is to have the court arrange a conference between the district and the heirs, to see if the case or parts of it can be resolved.

"We would anticipate a conference with the court in the coming months," he said.

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