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Councilman's 'Call for Civility' Criticizes the Critics

Filippi said he feels government critics are not being considerate of their fellow men and asked the public to demand a return to civility.

Rye City Councilman Richard Filippi gave a speech during the most recent city council meeting that called for a “return to civility,” for the good of the city and “an end to the insanity,” of personal attacks and “inappropriate behavior." He criticized the tactics of several vocal critics of the current administration and resurrected the Dapolite video incident that happened a year ago.

Members of the public, Councilman Joe Sack and those named in the speech have publicly disagreed with Filippi’s statement since he made his remarks at the Jan. 23 meeting. 

Several Rye Golf Club members who were present told the council that they disagreed with Filippi’s criticisms and said that in remarking against personal attacks, he personally attacked individuals himself. When asked about the comments made about them, Filippi’s targets – Andrew Daoplite and Leon Sculti- said they were surprised by the comments and Filippi's statements about several incidents were inaccurate.

Filippi maintains that his speech was meant to be a call for people to treat each other with more respect and to speak out for city employees who say they have been disrespected or made to feel uncomfortable. 

“I think we should all move back to more civility,” Filippi said. “And stop these personal attacks on each other because we’re only hurting Rye which is a place we all say we love. So that’s my point.”

The comments started with a focus on Sculti, who runs LausDeo10580, a blog that is highly critical of the current administration and where he posts information about his own active investigation of the allegedly misappropriated funds and misconduct at Rye Golf Club. Filippi continued to give his own brief account of the Dapolite incident that accused Dapolite of manipulating cameras and harassing his former boss (claims Dapolite repudiates), then also mentioned “Mr. Floatie” and Ray Tartaglione and the “Chittenden emails,” which are critical of the administration and sent to a long list of officials and members of the press.

Throughout the approximately 12 minute speech, Filippi repeatedly called to an end to personal attacks and for more civility. He also said that people have been reluctant to get involved with local government because of LausDeo10580.

Later on in the meeting, during the “citizens desiring to be heard” portion, several members of the public disagreed with Filippi and specifically defended Leon Sculti.

“Mr. Sculti is leading the vanguard for people in Rye who are tired of being misled, being sent down the road,” said Rye Golf Club member Brandon O’Brien.

He and the other RGC members who spoke commended Sculti's work investigating the alleged misconduct at Rye Golf Club  and attributed his success at uncovering information to his persistent efforts.  

“All he wants to do is ask questions and he is not being given the proper answers…he needs to get answers, and that’s why he does what he does,” O'Brien said.

Filippi said that people have a right to speak but that they should be respectful, and not send “nasty emails,” or make “personal attacks.”

“That was a personal attack on Leon,” said Rye Golf Club Commission Chair John Duffy of Filippi’s speech. “Maybe he has done some things the wrong way, but he has done a lot of things that have benefited this community,” Duffy said of Sculti. 

Sculti said that Filippi mischaracterized his actions when the councilman claimed that he “barged into” a police arbitration meeting that was not open to the public with a camera.

“I never said a word and didn't even have a camera in the building with me,” Sculti said, adding he left immediately after he was told the meeting was not open to the public. Filippi said he heard differently from city manager Scott Pickup.

Filippi also mentioned an Oct. 15, 2012 video Sculti made that shows him asking members of city staff questions on camera.

Sculti said he did not “barge,” into any meetings, or offices, nor did he “shove cameras” in anyone’s face, as Filippi said, and was cordial. You can see the videohere.

In an interview with Patch after the meeting, Filippi said he was prompted to make the speech because of the camera interviews, which Filippi said made city staff very uncomfortable and led RyeTV director Nicole Levitsy to file a police report, although he could not elaborate further, he said.

“These people are coming to do their work and they shouldn’t have to put up with that,” Filippi said. “The should not have to feel anxiety because of how people behave to them.”

Sculti believes that Filippi’s speech was given to dissuade the administration’s adversaries from “asking for the truth from their governments.”

"Mr. Filippi's unfortunate choice of words, and healthy bit of disinformation, was nothing more than a failed attempt to distract from the city's responsibility regarding the Rye Golf Club/RM Staffing scandal," Sculti said. "His words speak for themselves. Personally, I wish Mr. Filippi nothing but the best."

Dapolite also claims that Filippi made inaccurate statements and mischaracterized his dealings with the city from last year.

 “I was surprised at some of the things he said because they weren’t even accurate and he did vote with the council majority to not investigate the facts so I am curious how he arrived at some of his conclusions,” Dapolite said.

Dapolite, the 23-year-old former RyeTV employee, has stayed out of the public spotlight since July after he settled a lawsuit against city manager Scott Pickup and then resigned shorty after. Dapolite sued Pickup to remove a reprimand for allegeldy using work computers for personal reasons, he said.

The reprimand came after Dapolite sent a letter to the city council claiming that Pickup and his boss at Rye TV, Nicole Levitsky, had instructed him to tell members of the public and city officials that a contentious Fire Department workshop was not filmed, although Levitsky, Pickup and Dapolite all knew for a fact that it was filmed. Dapolite alleges the reprimand was filed in retaliation for his letter. 

The letter was then leaked to the press and made a public topic. The video was later posted to the city website with poor audio quality; Dapolite alleges he found the audio level of the recording had been deliberately manipulated and lowered. Read the full background here

The council, with the exception of Councilwoman Catherine Parker and Councilman Joe Sack, voted to turn the matter over to the Ethics Board. Parker and Sack wanted the city to investigate the incident.

After receiving the reprimand, Dapolite, represented by former Rye City mayor and local attorney John Carey, sued Pickup. Two conditions of the June settlement were that Dapolite agreed not to take further action on the allegations he made in the original letter to the council and Pickup agreed to remove the reprimand from Dapolite’s personnel file, according to Dapolite. There were other conditions involved in the settlement, but Dapolite did not ask for or receive any type of monetary compensation, he said. In July, he resigned from his position at RyeTV, an action taken separately from the lawsuit. 

Dapolite also said that Filippi’s claims made on Jan. 23 that he manipulated video and that the city is not required to film workshops were also inaccurate. The council is required to film all workshops, according to a 2009 Council resolution and Dapolite never manipulated video, nor had he ever been accused of that until Filippi’s speech, he said. 

Two days after the meeting, Councilman Joe Sack disagreed with Filippi and defended Dapolite in a column on MyRye.com.

“I was surprised and dismayed that one of my colleagues attacked the character and integrity of Andrew Dapolite, a life-long 23-year-old Rye resident, because the attack was part of a prepared statement which was purportedly against personal attacks, because the attack was inconsistent with my own experience with Mr. Dapolite as a truthful and upstanding person, and because the attack pertained to a set of circumstances which a majority of the city council – including my colleague in question – had heretofore repeatedly declined to investigate.”

Sack continued to explain that the Ethics Board never interviewed Pickup or Levitsky and made no investigation into the matter.

“The time may finally be right to require the relevant parties to answer these allegations. Better late than never,” Sack said, implying the council should reconsider Dapolite’s claims.

Filippi told Patch he sees no reason for the council to investigate Dapolite’s allegations because the Ethics Board said there was no issue to investigate.

“After the Board of Ethics came out and said there is no issue here, I don’t think we should waste city money on something like this.”

“Sack wants to investigate a lot of things,” Filippi said. “You have to ask what is the motivation? If Mr. Sack was ever the mayor there would never be another road paved in Rye. We’d be spending all the money on investigations.” 

You can view Filippi's full comments under General Announcements on the Rye City website here.

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*Editor's Note: This article has been changed slightly to reflect that Dapolite settled the lawsuit in June, 2012. 

Do you agree or disagree with Filippi's sentiment? Please share your thoughts in the comments. 

tedc February 05, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Bob – well regrettably and importantly – both issues are still unresolved. First on the illegal STAR exemption on a NYS rental property, Mr. French was recorded from the center of the bench saying “..if I got a benefit I didn’t deserve..” then he would of course correct it. This “first knowledge” of his so called mistake is telling because later on Feb 2, 2012 the meeting notes from the “Executive Session” of the Ethics Committee indicate Noreen Whitty told the committee that this illegal extra STAR exemption was discovered by HER almost 9 months prior and she had informed Mr. French about the issue at that time and they were working on a “resolution.” So – which was it – did they know or did they not know of the illegal STAR issue all along? Second on the much bigger money cheat issue – 2 family houses are generally assessed at lower rates than single family homes in Rye NY. Independent studies on this very subject are currently underway. And “improved” homes are always assessed for more than “unimproved” homes. The 13 Richard Place property card in Ms. Whitty’s office showed zero improvements or reassessments since 1949. And that assessment is still unchanged today Bob –even though all this new info about the property was uncovered over a full year ago. Continued -
tedc February 05, 2013 at 09:37 PM
Some claim this uniquely suppressed assessment is low by 100%. They may be right but that seems strong so let’s for arguments sake be more conservative and say its 50% under what it would have been if all the work he did was KNOWN to the building department and he had COME CLEAN about the single family status on the day after he purchased it in 1992. So that’s 20 years at a 50% low assessment. And he knew all about these issues for every day of every year he’s been a Rye resident. In 2011 Mr. French paid $10,134 in property taxes for 13 Richard Place. Now property taxes as we know have grown substantially since 1992 - so you can’t just multiply $10,134 X 1.5 X 20. But by doing a detailed historical calculation on each of the years, timing each improvement as if he reported it promptly and then summarizing the results you are definitely going to get a very large number. Much bigger than the $16K he had to make good so far for the 10 year running illegal 2nd STAR. Continued -
tedc February 05, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Finally Bob - It seems to me that any normal non political class Rye resident would have been served up a huge retroactive property tax bill by Ms. Whitty by last March - at the latest - payable in cash and in full immediately. And Ms. Whitty and Mr. Pickup would have called Robin Jovanovich and Chris Falcone in for an interview to espouse how judiciously they “protected” the Rye taxpayers yet again when any such facts of property owner malfeasance come to light. Instead what we have here , so far, is the sound of silence and the repayment of nothing.
Jim Amico February 05, 2013 at 10:01 PM
First Steve Otis then mostly Scott Pickup...for 6 combined years these 2 individuals tried time after time to tell me how "they couldn't" install 2 Stop Signs on a County Owned Road! For every "NO" they had in their arsenal I had 2 "Yes's" in defense! If I had a DOLLAR for every time I was disrespected by Scott Pickup over those 6 years I would be living on a secluded island....not once did Councilman Filippi step up in my defense...NOT ONCE!!! So, we stand up for what's right and the truth and now all of a sudden Councilman Filippi wants to give us all a lecture on Civility & Respect??? Why doesn't Councilman Filippi express this at Mr. Scott Pickup??? You know what the real problem here is....they are all scared, not man enough to stand up and tell it like it is with their identity stamped to it. They think using smoke & mirrors makes them somebody, that is their "BULLY" TACTIC....difference is...we can handle the bullying, we don't need phony speeches!!! IF YOU CAN'T DO THE TIME DON'T DO THE CRIME!!!
Bob Zahm February 05, 2013 at 11:00 PM
@TedC - Thanks for the background on the property. Seems to me like this would be a very reasonable question to put to the City Council and the Tax Assessor. Looking at the City website, 13 Richard Pl is assessed at $11.85k; #9 is $12k; #19 is $12.65 (lot is 2x as large as #13) and the houses on the other side of the Richard Pl range from $10.3k to $14.75 so I'm not sure that a 50% increase is to be expected, but the principle of property valuation needing to be adjusted when construction work is done still stands. After all, valuation was at the core of the Osborn home litigation.
RyeDad February 06, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Bob: I don't think any paperwork for French's illegal house is missing any longer. Haven't you heard? After Vinny died, and before Jovanovich tried to screw Vinny's family out of Health Insurance benefits, apparently French or Pickup or someone under their command went to Vinny's desk, moved some papers around and amazingly some sort of paperwork was found. Some are calling it a miracle. The Rye Record may be calling it divine intervention. Whatever you want to call it, it doesn't explain French not paying his 2012 school taxes yet. He is even being penalized by the City of Rye for non payment. What a great example French is for all the decent tax paying citizens of Rye and what a fantastic symbol he is for the Rye Republican Party.
RyeDad February 06, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Now that a FOIL request has been filed, it seems that Filippi doesn't want to elaborate on the police report he said Levitsky filed. Could it be that Filippi was being less than truthful and there is no police report? If it turns out a police report was filed by Levitsky, did Levitsky sign a sworn statement and how did Connors classify this alleged incident? What was the extent of any investigation? Did 90 pound City Clerk Nodarse (Filippi's words) also file a police report?
tedc February 06, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Right Bob - valuation needs to be corrected retroactively and taxes need to be collected retroactively. And Bob, equally important, what is the appropriate incremental financial penalty here for all this duplicity over two decades? All of it choreographed personally by a guy who calls himself Mayor - again - the Mayor of Rye?
dita von struedel van trappyodel February 06, 2013 at 02:09 AM
Are you serious.. the Mayor of Rye hasn't paid his school taxes for 2012 yet? Absolutely unbelievable! Can someone confront him about this at tomorrow's council meeting?
dita von struedel van trappyodel February 06, 2013 at 02:15 AM
Are you accusing Filippi of doing a Filippi Flop?
dita von struedel van trappyodel February 06, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Jim - can you raise a ruckus at the council meeting tomorrow. Ask him about his taxes and the incorrect assessment on his house.
TaxMan February 06, 2013 at 03:45 AM
Warrant ID: E030894195W0017 Defendant: DOUGLAS H FRENCH 46 MEADOW PL RYE NY 105801712 Plaintiff: NYS TAX COMMISSION POB 5149 ALBANY NY 12205 Judgment Amount: $219.30 Where perfected: WESTCHESTER SUPREME COURT Date/time filed: 2011/11/29 09:00 AM Amendment Date: Amendment Desc Amount 2012/02/09: Satisfaction Piece $219.30 2013/01/08: Vacated $0.00
RyeDad February 06, 2013 at 03:54 AM
Potentially, yes. We will have to wait and see if Levitsky filed a police report and a sworn statement. For some reason Connors needs a month to find one police report so I'm thinking it doesn't exist or he and Pickup don't want the public to see it. Make sure you tune in to WKRPD Connors in Cincinnati. Tomorrows topic: Triple dipping and conflicts of interest.
Jim Amico February 06, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Wait, Im confused.....Connors investigates??? When did this start??? Please stop, it is way too early in the morning to be laughing this hard? Can someone please "foil" the investigation Connors conducted on his 2 Officers after they targeted & attacked me??? What diciplanary charges were brought against these Officers, surely Connors did a "thorough" investigation & followed thru on this??? Were these Officers in the very least "SUSPENDED"??? What did our City Manager have to say about this, surely he must be upset that a Rye Resident would be treated in such a manner....what say you Mr. Pickup??? Wait, I'm confused again, I forgot...."Just because we have a City Manager form of Government doesn't mean he "has" to run the City"...........LMAO!!!
dita von struedel van trappyodel February 06, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Rais a ruckus at the meeting tonight JIm!
Bob Zahm February 06, 2013 at 06:57 PM
@TedC - just checked with the City Assessor's office. 13 Richard Place was re-assessed. The numbers I quoted in yesterday's post are from the City's web site, but are updated annually. The new figure is $200 higher or $12,050. That increase is consistent with the work I've done on my house. So, I would think that the issue with 13 Richard Place is closed.
HEALtheHARBOR.com February 06, 2013 at 07:36 PM
I don't think anything is closed Bob. I think we have a Mayor that was caught stealing money from the exact residents that he took an oath to protect. He also renovated an entire house without any permits. As a public official he is held to a higher standard and when he was confronted, not only did he try to hide it, he also involved a slew of Hard working, honest Rye City workers to aid him in his cover-up. He tried to use Vinnie's death as an excuse. Face it Bob, a snake, is a snake, is a snake and I am being kind in my wording.
HEALtheHARBOR.com February 06, 2013 at 07:37 PM
I don't think anything is closed Bob. I think we have a Mayor that was caught stealing money from the exact residents that he took an oath to protect. He also renovated an entire house without any permits. As a public official he is held to a higher standard and when he was confronted, not only did he try to hide it, he also involved a slew of Hard working, honest Rye City workers to aid him in his cover-up. He tried to use Vinnie's death as an excuse. Face it Bob, a snake, is a snake, is a snake and I am being kind in my wording.
Bob Zahm February 06, 2013 at 07:40 PM
The point I'm suggesting is closed is the one factual point brought up on this thread - and brought by Ted. To wit - that the Mayor's 13 Richard Place property had not be re-assessed by the City. That has happened and so the point is closed.
Stuy Guy February 07, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Four (4) years ago, angry Rye residents couldn't wait to throw the Democrats out of office. VOTE REPUBLICAN...It's Best for Rye! And so we did: French, Fillipi, Jovanovich, Suzanna Keith. Two (2) years ago, voters gave the GOP 2 of 3 seats...and the only one Democrat won was by 4 measly votes. Another Republican landslide! Sack and Brett, and Parker. Are you happier now? Did things work out as you planned? Were the two GOP wins (2009 and 2011) "Best for Rye"? Did sticking with the GOP give you what you hoped for? If you think so, do it again in 2013. Give four more Republicans four more years to undo the mess they created. For my sake, I hope the Democrats give us four new faces, people not involved in the mess of the last four years. I hope they will give us an alternative to what we've just seen from one-party control. I hope they will be energetic and honest, and fair, and approachable. And I hope they win.
HEALtheHARBOR.com February 07, 2013 at 03:45 AM
Hi All!! We have just posted a new picture of Councilman Dick Filippi pictured doing what he does best. Enjoy!
dita von struedel van trappyodel February 07, 2013 at 02:02 PM
Actually raise a ruckus next week. Gather and present evidence! I guess these guys are now on a three week schedule rather than two. So, along with incompetence and, maybe, dishonesty, they must now be lazy as well.
dita von struedel van trappyodel February 07, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Where? Didn't see anything on your site.
Bob Zahm February 07, 2013 at 02:44 PM
The City's on-line property tax information shows the following re 13 Richard Pl. Rye City School taxes of $6,276.74 were due by 11/30/12 but appear as unpaid Rye City taxes of $1,794.37 are due by 2/28/13
RyeDad February 07, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Stuy Guy: I am one of the people who regrets voting for French. I didn't vote for Jovanovich, Filippi or Keith because I saw through their craziness three years ago. As far as your questions: No. No. No. No. As far as getting rid of one party control in 2013? I hope so too.
tedc February 12, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Let's all hopefully hear from Mr. Filippi on this one: INSIDE CITY HALL BOMBSHELL. RYE CITY OFFICIAL MOCKS FOIL LAW–CHALLENGES JUDGES TO CHECK HER EMAILS & ANALYZE EVERYTHING http://www.lausdeo10580.com/lausdeo10580/2013/02/rye-city-official-mocks-foil-lawchallenges-judges-to-go-after-her-emails-and-analyze-everthing.html
dita von struedel van trappyodel February 12, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Wow. I hope they are meeting tomorrow and that all of the Gadflies show up in force. We need to teach these scoundrels a lesson. Go for it!
dita von struedel van trappyodel February 16, 2013 at 04:50 PM
WHere was Fillippi at the last meeting? Hiding?
dita von struedel van trappyodel February 16, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Where was Filippi a the last meeting? Hiding?
Rye Mom February 16, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Filippi slid out after they broke the second executive session. He probably saw some people there that he'd rather not deal with. Remember, he's into schadenfreude... not masochism.

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