The Village of Manorhaven has not imposed new fines on businessman Peter Dejana for illegally maintaining trailers on two of his properties even though a 2016 settlement with him called for such fines if they were not removed.
The fines could have amounted to thousands of dollars.
The settlement, passed as a resolution by the Board of Trustees on Feb. 25, 2016, involved two trailers at 30 Sagamore Hill Drive and one at 134 Shore Road.
Dejana, the owner of Dejana Industries, which encompasses several other snow removal and street sweeping companies, was given 60 days to provide a legal argument about how the trailer at 134 Shore Road was exempt under village code or fines would be imposed. At 30 Sagamore Hill Drive, he had six months to apply for a building permit or remove the trailers.
In addition, he agreed to pay $75,000 to the village as part of the settlement.
The Village of Manorhaven Court clerk, Donald Badaczewski, confirmed that on April 17, 2016 — 52 days after the settlement — Dejana paid the fine, but further fines for the illegal trailers were not issued.
The superintendent of buildings and chief code enforcer, William Rogel, said that no permits had been issued for the three trailers.
He said he was unaware that the matter had not been resolved until he read the Board of Trustee meeting minutes after a reporter for Blank Slate Media made him aware of them.
“I was not aware that the settlement did not finally dispose of this matter until I read the minutes of the Board of Trustees meeting dated February 25, 2016,” Rogel said. “I was under the assumption that a final settlement was reached by the previous administration between the property owner and the village that completely resolved this matter and so there was no issue with the Dejana trailers.”
Now that he is aware of the trailers, he said, he plans to investigate.
Efforts to reach Dejana were unavailing.
Manorhaven Mayor Jim Avena, who is engaged to Dejana’s sister and is the grant administrator for Dejana’s foundation, the Peter and Jeri Dejana Family Foundation, said, “Peter Dejana is looking for a new place to run his operation.”
He would not comment further or elaborate as to whether Dejana is running his multimillion dollar business out of the trailers.
Avena voted in favor of the Feb. 25, 2016, resolution when he was a village trustee.
The fines for the trailers at 30 Sagamore Hill Drive could have resumed in August and the fines for the trailer at 134 Shore Road could have resumed in April.
Dejana’s attorney for the case was Gerard Terry, the former North Hempstead Democratic Committee chairman, who pleaded not guilty on Jan. 31 to federal charges of tax evasion and obstruction of the IRS.
Efforts to reach Terry were unavailing.
The trailer at 134 Shore Road, which can be seen from Manorhaven Village Hall, appears to be using electricity as there are cameras and lights hooked to the outside of the structure.
The two trailers at 30 Sagamore Hill Drive have signs that say “GE Capital Modular Space,” a company that manufactures mobile offices.
It is not known whether Dejana is running his company out of the trailers.
It is also unknown if Dejana is paying taxes for a commercial building on the property.
The village began fining Dejana for trailers at the two sites on Nov. 6, 2013, and subsequently fined him 120 times, Patrick Abramski, the former superintendent of buildings and chief code enforcer, said in Village Court transcripts on Oct. 21, 2014.
Because 350 days passed between the first fine and the Oct. 21, 2014 court date, Peter Gallanter, the village justice, deemed each day the trailers have been on the properties a violation — a total of 700 days, 350 for each property.
Gallanter fined Dejana $34,500 for each property — a total of $69,000.
Section 184 of the village code, which includes trailers, states that a person or a firm who does not comply with the code could be fined $10 to $100.
In court, former village Attorney James Toner, who was the prosecutor, asked that the maximum fine be imposed because Dejana had not complied with the village and “he continues to violate the statutes of the village.”
Terry was not present in court on Oct. 21.
Following the 60 days Dejana had to remove the trailer from 134 Shore Road, the ticketing did not resume.
If the fines had resumed at $100 a day, Dejana would have been fined $33,800 for the 134 Shore Road trailer and $21,600 for the 30 Sagamore Hill Drive trailers.
When asked why the fines did not resume under the village’s former administration, Toner said, “This was not within my jurisdiction as the village attorney, and the code enforcer would need to answer that.”
When reached by a Blank Slate Media reporter, Abramski asked how he got his number, and when told it was publicly listed, he said, “Yeah, well lose it,” and hung up the phone.