Posted by: Dawn Powell | May 12, 2016

Pretending that power isn’t everything

You know when there are 2 board members who pretend that they are not acting with the majority of the board, that they are the compassionate ones, the decent ones, who care about the townsfolk, about the taxpayers, about doing the right thing, and then, there is a change of power.  They have the protection of the majority, so they can pretend.  Sometimes you will be fooled into believing them, and sometimes you will be confused by behavior that seems inconsistent. Then, the compassionate choice is suddenly the majority opinion.  So what happened?

Back to Cornu, the big pink concrete house on Oscawana Lake Road.  Years ago now, John Landi put this highly questionable red notice on the door, telling the two old people to get out.

There is lots of history there, but it is unimportant to what occurred from the red notice on.  History’s only significance is the ability for people who should be taking care of the town to hold grudges and nurse them, no matter what.

So, this time around, everyone agreed that the town approved plan could not be used.  The crazy old French man had been saying that for years to no avail.  This time, there was an architect, and an attorney.  But the town remained stuck in its mean, old grudge, and the architect and attorney could not get past that.

What happened next is appalling, although not without precedent in Putnam Valley.  Mrs. Cornu gave up her claim to the house.  Mr. Cornu took over his own defense.  He requested an accommodation for his severe hearing loss.  English is also his second language, so between language, age, and hearing loss, he really had no idea what was going on.  The judge wasted a lot of the architect’s time, but seemed to dismiss everything he said.  The resulting decision was so draconian, that even for Putnam County, it was a shock.  While rebuilding was mentioned, it wasn’t included in the decision in any meaningful way, and a “referee” was appointed to do nothing but take the property away from the old man and charge $250 an hour against that property.  Her name is Joan Iacono, Esq.  When this horrible ruling came down, the Town Board gave Pierre permission to sell his house himself, and an email was sent to the referee.  Now that the referee has decided to extract her payment, Pierre asked for clarification from the court.  Mr. Lusardi, a long term Putnam Valley tax payer funded attorney, and now Zoning Board member, objected that the old man did not send him a copy of the letter.  I guess he is still pretending that Pierre is competent to handle this all himself.

Anyway, the new judge said he would vacate by permission of all parties, and allow Pierre to sell his house, which was what the Town Board said they would do….  or at least, the Councilwomen, and Sam O.  So why no action?  Who was only pretending to have compassion?  I can guess.  The oddly, awkwardly announced executive session last night was about Cornu.  It probably should have been a public discussion.  Shouldn’t the taxpayers know how we drive old people out of our community?



  1. Thank you for posting this. May 11, 2016 is a day that will live in infamy in Putnam Valley. The town board had the chance to do the right thing for the Cornu family. The issue was simple and unambiguous: if they had agreed, the new judge would have allowed the Cornu’s to sell the property on their own, without the $250/ hour referee, Ms. Iacono.

    This would have been a win win situation for the town. There were no loopholes for Pierre to wiggle through. The town would have been able to take down the house if the Cornu’s did not sell the property within the time allocated, most likely 6 months.

    This is a vote that should have taken place in public, so that the residents of our town could find out just what kind of people they elected to office. Given what happened, their refusal to help the Cornu family, it is no wonder that they wanted to do their dirty deed in secret, no doubt aided and abetted by the fossil of of a town attorney, Mr. Florence, who is no stranger to dirty deeds, IN MY OPINION THAT IS PROTECTED BY THE CONSTITUTION.

    JACKIE, STEVE, WENDY, LOUIE- PLEASE TAKE NOTICE: you are not going to get away with this. Your meeting last night was borderline illegal. Your fossil lawyer still hasn’t figured out that an exec session is part of an open meeting. He also doesn’t know or care that you can’t declare an exec session because something MIGHT result in litigation. ** Just because Bob Tendy told you it was OK to flout the law doesn’t make it right.

    If is the last thing I do, I am going to make sure that when it’s time for you to run, the voters are going to know what you did, how you treated your elderly neighbors and their daughters who one of you went to school with. The voters and residents are going to hear so much about your conduct that they will have it memorized. Karma is a bitch as they say.

  2. I honestly believed that the Councilwomen and Sam O would let Pierre sell his house.

    • At this point there is no telling who did what. Sam has claimed all along that he wanted to help the Cornu’s and he is the only one who has done anything to help them that I know of. He did say he was going to stop the litigation and he did. He responded to my calls and emails and I hope that he at least tried to convince Wendy & Jackie to do the right thing. However, he should never have agreed to hold the meeting in secret. He should have insisted that everything be done in public instead of all the BS excuses. That is why I no longer trust anyone. Like I said, karma is inevitable.

  3. Isn’t it shame that no one seems to care about this?

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