Posted by: Dawn Powell | May 22, 2016

Brief History – Cornu

  1. There was an approved and accepted plan for the Cornu house.  That was the Bonvisutto plan, submitted back in the 90’s.
  2. The building department, Marvin Odell, issued stop work orders, back in the 90’s.  Zutt represented the Cornus back then.  Be careful who you hire to represent yourself in this town.  They can and will use any information they obtain against you in a future action.  Zutt won, on behalf of the Cornus, and the town had to allow him to continue.
  3. The town started up again.  Pierre took his case to the appellate division, and the Town lost. That was in 2000.
  4. The town started up again.  Somewhere in there, John Zarcone represented the Cornus when he was Tendy and Zarcone.  See what I mean about being careful about who represents you?  Things got complicated in there.  Pierre’s engineer died, and it seems to be very difficult to get an engineer to work with another engineer’s plan, especially one who is no longer available to consult.  Pierre did get another engineer, and he submitted plans.  That engineer was appalled by the way the town treated the Cornus.  He subsequently moved out of state.
  5. Judge Hickman tried to help, and ordered that Pierre be able to continue construction according to the already approved Bonvissuto plans.
  6. Pierre kept saying ad nauseum, for years, that it was impossible to finish according to those plans, and that they needed to be upgraded.  The house was inspected and x-rayed.
  7. Judge Shapiro felt that he had been disrespected when Pierre did not follow the Bonvissuto plans and the Cornus missed a court date, so he threw them in jail.  I was in court that day.  It was one of the disgusting things I have seen in this town.  Mr. Lusardi was also there.
  8. The lawyer after the jailing was Robert Cinque, who was working at the Sayegh Law Firm, Jackie’s brother…..Really, this is all just a bit too much.
  9. There were supposed to be remediations. The supports were put under the balconies, although there was significant debate about whether they were necessary.  The zoning board held onto an old grudge that the court should not have usurped their power, as had happened appropriately in the court order.  Pierre maintained throughout that the order was impossible, that he could not proceed with the Bonvissuto plans.  Ralph Mastromonaco, PE tried to help, but the town did not accept his credentials.  Folchetti refused to help.  It was impossible to find another engineer.
  10. Hostilities were ceased.  The Cornus were left alone.
  11. At the beginning of Sam Davis’ term, also the beginning of a new judge’s term, a bench warrant against Pierre was enforced.  The new judge didn’t know the case, but it occurred under his watch.  He was not impressed, and hostilities ceased again.  Supe Davis did not expend further monies on the case.
  12. There were attorneys involved at various points.  When Mr. Cornu represented himself, the courts allowed him to also represent his wife.  That, in and of itself, should have voided all of this.
  13. When the judge announced his retirement, John Landi posted a red notice on the door telling the family to get out.  It was not supported by any law or documentation.
  14. When the case was reopened, the judge’s decision was vacated because all parties agreed that the accepted plan could not be used in remediating and completing the house.  That is, all parties agreed that the court order was impossible to be complied with.  All parties agreed that the basis for 15 years of the Cornu persecution was wrong.  And all parties agreed to vacate a Supreme Court Justice’s decision and order, even though some think that is not possible think that is impossible.
  15. Mrs. Cornu, back from the wars, hired a competent attorney and an architect.  Mrs. Cornu volunteered for missions with Doctors Without Borders over the years.  There was no peaceful enjoyment when she stayed stateside. The architect did extensive plans for remediating the house.  He was willing to certify that the house was safe.  He testified extensively.  It all should have happened, but a corrupt town that had harassed these people for 20 years wasn’t about to stop, and whatever the basis for Tendy’s grudge, that wasn’t going away.
  16. It was costing a lot of money, and Cathy couldn’t take anymore.  She asked to be removed from the litigation, and the property.  Judge Grossman agreed.
  17. Everything proceeded with Pierre at the helm. Judge Grossman seemed to have remarkable judicial temperament.  I did not understand why he did not grant Pierre an accommodation for his significant hearing loss and language problem (English is not his first language).  Because he seemed to be genuinely interested in what the architect had to say, I assumed that it was because he was going to allow the house to be repaired.  Pierre was not competent to represent himself, and for any of the involved parties to pretend that he was is unethical and probably illegal.   If Judge Grossman was never going to consider any of this, I think that allowing the amount of money to be sucked away from these old people was just horrifying.  And then, to suck more away in the decision, cruel and inhumane.
  18. It was a terrible decision. To pretend that a judge is not capable of making a bad decision is to not understand anything about our legal system.  Why would there be an appellate division or Court of Appeals?  Sometimes the decisions are not bad, but there are still differences of opinion or interpretation on the law.
  19. The town did not defacto win this case.  Judge Grossman did allow a pathway for fixing the house, albeit an impossible one.  It was as if he didn’t understand anything about the case or the town.
  20. There is a difference between appointing this “referee,” Joan Iaconno, Esq, at $250/hour and allowing Pierre to sell the house himself.  And what function could she possibly have, except to make the situation impossible, and lots more expensive.  She is not actually a referee.  She is not a disinterested party to be paid by both the town and the defendant.  She gets to suck her payment from what little Mr. Cornu has left.
  21. Some people think that it doesn’t matter that this is an old man, that he has lost a home that had value to him, that this town has taken a great deal from these people.  While I wouldn’t advocate this kind of hateful treatment of anyone, I certainly think that old people are in greater need of protection from evil.
  22. There have been comments about not allowing Pierre “wiggle room,” as if this man has anything to wiggle.  This is so stupid.
  23. Jackie Annabi and Wendy Whetsel both made it clear over this last episode that they were supporting letting the Cornus repair the house.  Sam Oliverio made it clear that he wanted the town persecution to end.  He indicated on more than one occasion that if Pierre listed the house, he would support allowing Pierre to sell.  He indicated that he would send an email to the “referee” to that effect.  I understand that his email was equivocal and not helpful to Pierre, but I also stand by what Sam O indicated.  The house was listed, and it was believed that Pierre would be able to proceed with the sale, until the “referee” started to assert her right to sell the house.  Pierre asked for assistance from the new judge, who clearly stated the situation (which Pierre clearly did not understand, and which Pierre still does not clearly understand), and said that he would vacate the decision if there was agreement from both parties.  It was clearly indicated to several people that Sam O supported this.  It could be assumed from the Councilwomen’s previously stated positions that they would support this very small accommodation.
  24. So someone is lying.  The 2 Councilmen were always in support of the persecution, and could not be expected to vote for this.  But at least one of the others is lying. Exec session is not sacrosanct.  Tell the truth if you can figure out what it is.
  25. We need a far more decent community.  And we need to recall our inhumane Town Board.


  1. This is an excellent summary of this sordid history that has soiled several generations of politicians and their highly paid lackeys. Also of note- during the trial, Judge Grossman himself (accompanied by 2 armed court guards) came for an official site visit of the house. I was there with Pierre and Celestine as we watched the dog and pony show put on by Tendy, Lusardi, Quaglietta, Todd, et al for the judge’s benefit.

    Another thing about the trial, keep in mind that because PIerre represented himself and basically refused to take advice from anyone, he was on his own in the courtroom. He was up against a team of professionals (paid for by the taxpayers) that included town attorneys Lusardi and Gil, engineer Todd Atkinson and Rich Quaglietta the building inspector/ code enforcer. It is truly remarkable that an old man with many health issues, who speaks English as a second language and who could barely hear the proceedings, was able to do as well as he did, all things considered.

  2. Much of what you have written previously along these lines has been fragmentary and hard to follow. I appreciate this full recounting of the Cornu saga, which clarifies much of the confusion.

    I also appreciate Patty’s outrage at the last Town Board meeting.

    There are some of us who are paying close attention and wish this disgraceful episode to come to a satisfactory conclusion.

    Whistling Willie

    • Many thanks to WW. THIS IS NOT OVER. Sam, Jackie, Wendy, Steve and Louis still have the chance to do the right thing.


      What do you think?

  3. Very good summary of the events. Thank you for taking the time to post this.

  4. On the Putnam Valley Political Debate page of Facebook, someone challenges Patty’s urging that the Town Board show some leniency toward the Cornus. There is a back-and-forth between Patty and this commentator. At one point, Patty addresses him as Matt.

    Question: Who is Matt, and why does he (and others) have it in for the Cornus?

    Whistling Willie

    • i believe that Matt is Matthew Higgins who runs the PVPD page. Even with all the information I have provided, he still insists that the disgusting and inhumane actions of the town board were the correct way to treat the Cornu family. He appears to be a big friend and supporter of Jackie who I also assume has abandoned her prior claims of wanting to help out the Cornu’s and now has decided to go into full Avenger mode and help the court and the system screw them out of their last remaining property.

      My message to Jackie, Louie, Wendy and Steve is this: you can run but you can’t hide from your despicable behavior. The whole town is going to know exactly what went on here and how you treated these two senior citizens and their lovely daughter. How you conspired to take their property away from them because WHY?

      I am going to make sure to spread the word, especially during the next election cycle.

      I have had numerous calls and emails from people you’d never suspect of caring, who have told me that they find all of you disgusting and disgraceful.

      You still have a chance to do the right thing. If you don’t, I assure you that this issue will haunt your for the rest of your political lives.

      • 3 minute limit??? Was there really so much public comment that they needed to limit it? They have 3 freaking meetings a month, only allow public comment at one, and they still don’t want to have to listen to the public?

        Aside from putting the announcements back into the meeting, I thought it was an unorthodox approach to put a public hearing into the body of the meeting. I thought that public hearings were supposed to be separate events, separately noticed, separately opened and closed.

        I have been out talking to the public, and haven’t heard an outpouring of desire for this new building at the park.

  5. They are going to tax and spend until there is nothing left. Not one word about the taxpayers. They refuse to even take a poll to see what people want, let alone have a vote.

  6. Back to the Cornu affair. At this writing, the situation has gotten more precarious and unless the town board agrees, however belatedly, to allow the Cornu’s to dispose of their property on their own, without having to pay off a rapacious referee, it looks like the Cornu’s are going to lose everything.

    This is a very clear cut case and there is no “wiggle room” for the vile behavior of the five politicians who hold all the power at this time. I find it frightening- the very thought that the entire economic well being of this family rests in then hands of 5 contemptible, mean spirited mental midgets who won’t raise a finger to help their neighbors. All the while telling us how hard they word for the “public good.” Shameless.

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