A STAR Rises in East Quogue

Monday, June 30, 2008

A STAR Rises in East Quogue

And it's shining some troubling light on Mickey Chih, who has for the past three years execut­ed an affidavit, swearing under penalty of perjury that he is a bona-fide resident of 85 Montauk Highway, Westhampton Beach, in the 500 square foot apartment above his family's restaurant.

His problem is that, according to Southampton Town Geographic Information Systems, the Town's official tax information Website, he has also filed a form with the Assessor certifying that 32 Deer­feed Path (900-290-3-69¹) in East Quogue is his primary residence in order to receive a STAR (School Tax Relief) exemption, which exemption has been in effect for that property since March 1, 2000.

An important section of that form reads:

"Anyone who misrepresents his or her primary residence, age or income shall be subject to a $100 penalty, shall be prohibited from receiving the STAR exemption for five years, and may be subject to criminal prosecution."

And next to the form's signature line is a box reading:

I (we) certify that all of the above information is correct and that the property listed above is owned by and is my (our) primary residence. I (we) understand it is my (our) obligation to notify the assessor if I (we) relocate to another primary residence and to provide any documentation of eligibility that is requested.

(Emphasis in the original.)

From the NYS Office of Real Property Services:

"The Basic and Enhanced STAR Property Tax Exemptions are homestead exemptions. Basic STAR is available to anyone who owns and lives in his or her own home."

Eligibility for the STAR Program has a number of very clear guidelines, among them:

  • Applicant must be a resident property owner.
  • One does not qualify if one is a renter, business or for any second home one may own.

This should be investigated further to ascertain the truth of the matter.

It should also be asked where is the Chih's lawyer... the one who accompanied the family of four to the polls June 20th and insisted that they be allowed to vote in the Village Election?

Given that father Johnny and son Mickey had been challenged at the polling place for three straight years, exactly how did their attorney ascertain that the Chihs were valid residents and must be allowed to vote?

Note

¹.- Queries through Southampton Town GIS indicate that Mr. Chih's father, John S. Chih, is also a listed owner of the property, and may benefit from the STAR exemption.

Comments

1. 'amme said...

And the plot thickens!
Notice how Fred Hager has jumped out of the picture?

I don't think "the plot thickens" at all. On the contrary, I think it clarifies considerably.

Fred? Fred WHO?!?
Dean

2. Clamqueen said...

I can't believe that people feel the need to lie. It's really very sad.

3. Worried said...

Dean, you're on top of these guys, and the truth is coming out. I wonder what happens with the voting when this is proven? Can there be a new vote?

Proven? What's left to prove? Those are public records... not that Public Records cannot contain errors.

But that's something that needs to be investigated, and my understanding is that this is in the works.

As for a new vote, given the number of inconsistencies surrounding the June 20th Election, there are valid reasons why a Judge could order the whole process to be redone... but I don't think anyone really wants to see that sort of undertaking.

For my part, and most I speak with, as I wrote June 17th, I'd like to see Village officials elected fairly and without the interference of non-residents with their own agenda. That didn't happen this year or last.
– Dean

4. Frank Wheeler said...

Are you still whining about Levan beating you last year?

"Whining?" I don't think so... it still rankles when I think about it (which I don't very often) because if I'd worked a little harder I'd've beaten her with votes to spare! (If I had worked as diligently as Tim Laube did last month, I could have beaten Linda Kabot for Supervisor!)

But I didn't and that's on me, not the Chih family or the Lobels... they were only five votes, and I lost by six!

Tha's a fact, and if you feel it's "whining" to make a simple reference to it, so be it.

What I should have done after the last election is refer the affidavits sworn by the Chih's and the Lobels to the District Attorney's Political Corruption unit and let them investigate it. It wouldn't have changed the 2007 outcome, but if the DA's office had looked into it and came up with the same discrepencies, the Deputy Mayor would today be wondering where his dental insurance was coming from.
Dean

5. My-O-My said...

I wonder if Mick has considered the difference in the menu from his restaurant and the County Jail?

Hey! Hey! Hey! No one's been formally charged with any crime here, much less convicted of anything. A question has been raised is all, and answers need to be forthcoming.
Dean

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