Long Island town blocking construction of ‘loud’ Trump supporter’s home over politics: $1M suit
A resident of Amityville, Long Island claims the town turned his life into a nightmare by allegedly blocking construction on his home because he’s a “loud” Donald Trump supporter, according to a new $1 million lawsuit.
Vincent Franco, 62, says he’s stuck in a real-life horror story, as he and his wife are forced to live in a small part of their old house while the new structure being built around it remains in limbo and open to the elements.
“All the squirrels and raccoons are getting in,” he told The Post. “My wife went to grab something from the attic and a raccoon jumped out and almost bit her.”
The massive and costly home expansion was halted by politicians and residents of Amityville “because they did not want an individual who supported Trump to build such a large house in the neighborhood, or be in the neighborhood at all,” Franco claims in a Brooklyn federal court lawsuit filed last week.
Ever since Franco, a construction contractor, began the renovations in January 2020, he’s been met with repeated dubious obstacles, the suit states.
Residents, for instance, allegedly filed bogus complaints that the size of expansion led them to believe it would be improperly used for commercial storage or a three-family home.
But the complaint was actually a “veiled attempt to discriminate against a Trump supporter who flew Trump flags from his car, in front of the single family construction dwelling,” the lawsuit alleges.
Franco also claimed that the town mayor “openly said that he did not like having contractors and builders living in his community,” according to the suit.
“The people that live there have been there for 10, 15, 20 years,” Franco told The Post. “I was a nobody coming into their town and they didn’t give me a chance.”
Franco met multiple times with the town to “dispel false allegations that a larger, beautiful home that would improve the neighborhood was being built for nefarious purposes,” the suit said.
His permits were finally approved in August 2021 and he started construction, including raising the roof by over three feet.
A since-fired building inspector told Franco that September that the additional height to his roof wouldn’t be a problem as they would “make an exception,” the suit claims.
So Franco spent $100,00 to finish the roof, which included electrical and plumbing work on the second floor and in the attic, according to the court papers.
But a different building inspector in March 2022 disregarded the promise and said the roof was too high, “shutting the entire construction down, sending [Franco] back to planning,” the lawsuit alleges.
The new inspector, “made it extremely clear that this was due to personal biases on behalf of the trustees, mayor, personally, and professionally,” the suit claims.
Meanwhile, Franco claims he can’t even put plastic or siding on the exposed plywood and open rafters of the structure, which means rain and animals are getting inside, he told The Post.
The new structure is being build around the old house, leaving Franco and his wife confined to three rooms that are part of the old home, he said.
“When it rains everything comes through the ceiling and we get decimated,” Franco said.
The project is still being stonewalled despite the fact that the town “regularly approves variances,” – including to at least four other homes, the court papers say.
“For no reasonable purpose whatsoever, except for annoyance and discrimination, did defendants deny [Franco] the variance which in at least four cases had been approved,” the court papers charge.
Franco says he even agreed to pay $40,000 to bring the roof down most of the way, but couldn’t get it down to code height of 30 feet without totally redoing the whole project, he told The Post.
He also says they town continues to blame him for the issues, and refuses to take responsibility for the flub of the old inspector.
“You are saying you don’t like contractors, you don’t like his political views, you’re not going to speak to him, you’re saying he’s a trouble maker when he’s not,” Franco’s lawyer, Victor Feraru told The Post.
“What’s the harm in the community by allowing the guy to adjust [the roof] by several feet?” the lawyer added. “You don’t have an aesthetic issue, you don’t have a health and safety issue – you have a problem with our guy.”
Franco is suing for $1 million in damages.
The town lawyer didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
Additional reporting by Gabrielle Fonrouge