Westhampton Beach owner Elyse Richman was on the road to celebration when she learned from her attorney that a two-year-old village case against her had been withdrawn. Then, she learned that the attorney handing the case for the village said the withdrawal was procedural and that the case is still pending.
According to Hermon Bishop, the village's outside attorney contracted to handle the case, in May, the village had actually filed two appeals with the State Appellate Court. Only one of them has been withdrawn.
"The appeal is still pending," he said. "We withdrew one of them because it was an appeal from a decision and you can't appeal from a decision. It has to be from an order.
"The appeal from an order is the one that is still pending," said Bishop.
The case involves a six-foot ice cream sculpture, which Richman had put up in front of her store and has since been stolen. The village slapped her with a $750 sign code violation and a lawsuit ensued with Richman claiming that the sculpture is not a sign, it was a decoration for a children's birthday party.
Then, in April, Judge J. Lee Snead tossed out the violation.
At the time, Mayor Conrad Teller said, "The judge dismissed the case because he said it was costing the village too much money. We are appealing that the case be tried."
The board unanimously hired Bishop at a rate of $190 an hour to appeal.
The latest development has left Richman baffled: "Bishop should have known you can't do an appeal on a decision. So basically he got paid for that and had to redo it."
Richman continued, "Why are they wasting my taxpayer money on this nonsense? They should be using this money to fix the sidewalk."
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