Northport Trustee Defends House Construction, Denies Preferential Treatment

Former Northport deputy mayor Tom Kehoe defended his efforts Monday to rebuild his home and denied he had received preferential treatment, though he acknowledged making errors n the construction process.

At a press conference at Village Hall, Kehoe, who is also a village trustee, said,”The first thing that’s in the press is ‘Kehoe got preferential treatment. He was the deputy mayor. He got preferential treatment.Nobody else would’ve gotten away with this’ … And I’m saying: Not true,” Kehoe said.

Kehoe, who resigned last month as deputy mayor, went through a list of what he said were inaccuracies about his construction project. And he insisted he had been granted verbal approval to go ahead, although he declined to publicly name the village employee who gave him approval.

The home was gutted by fire in 2017. He began excavation and foundation work in January and received a stop-work order in April.

“I got a verbal okay to start; I got a verbal order to stop,” Kehoe said. Among the issues about his project were the location of the foundation on the property and a side entrance to the house.

Kehoe read a letter from Eric Fauser, president of Fauser Associates, which conducted the property survey, which initially found that the foundation was too close to property lines.  But that turned out to be a mistake on the part of the surveyor, according to Kehoe. The letter said an error occurred “in the drafting of the actual survey instrument that resulted in incorrect offsets being listed in the survey,” and blamed a problem with computer programs for the error.

“I have no animosity toward anyone in the village,” Kehoe said. “I have done a lot of work with the village and plan to continue to do so.”

Attorney Chris Modelewski accompanied Kehoe at the press conference and said that Kehoe acknowledges errors but wants to move on.

A sign posted on the property says that a public hearing  is scheduled May 15 before the Zoning Board of Appeals.

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