Demolition of Sumter house delayed until May

Bryan Ahrens

Village of East Williston Attorney Jeffrey Blinkoff said Tuesday that the property at 8 Sumter Ave., which has been a consistent source of resident complaints in recent years, will receive a temporary stay of demolition until May 5.

“I think the board can agree that this is not what we wanted to hear,” Mayor David Tanner said during Monday night’s Board of Trustees meeting.

Blinkoff said the court ruling, which was made on Jan. 6, stated that the village can argue to have the stay of demolition lifted after 45 days of the ruling should the house not be brought up to compliance either by the current owners or a buyer.

During a Dec. 8. Board of Trustees meeting, Blinkoff announced that a potential buyer had planned to purchase and repair the property. 

Blinkoff said on Tuesday that the buyer had failed to purchase the property by the Dec. 23 deadline which lead the courts ruling.

During the Dec. 8 meeting, Blinkoff said the prospective buyers of the property intended to renovate the dilapidated structure at 8 Sumter Ave. rather than demolish it 

He said that it was not determined that the property was beyond repair.

“Ultimately that is their decision,” Blinkoff said. “Hopefully that is good news.”

The house has been a source of recurrent complaints from residents over health, safety and aesthetic concerns, including the presence of raccoons living in the home.

In September, Blinkoff received a copy of a signed order from Nassau Supreme Court Judge James McCormack giving the village permission to raze the house. 

The order, which Blinkoff said he drafted for the judge’s signature, affirmed a ruling McCormack issued in a June 9 hearing to permit the village to demolish the Sumter Avenue house. 

At the time, McCormack gave the house’s owners, John and Theresa Muzio, 45 days – until July 28 – to remove their personal belongings from the house.

Blinkoff said he was also contacted in September by an attorney who said he represented the Muzios and an attorney who said he represented a buyer seeking to purchase the house and the property.

He said both attorneys said there was a contract of sale in place for the property with the Muzios’ attorney indicating that a closing would take place in a few weeks. The buyer’s attorney, Blinkoff said, told him the buyer was willing to close within days.

“The buyer’s attorney is very anxious to get this done,” Blinkoff said in September.

A previously scheduled auction of the property scheduled for September was canceled.

The Muzios have repeatedly said they had a deal in place to sell the property.

Blinkoff had earlier secured a court order granting the village the right to refurbish or destroy the house. 

But the village delayed action last year when Mineola-based BNL Construction co-owners Bruno and Luigi Calleo expressed interest in acquiring the property. 

The Calleos dropped plans to purchase the home after failing to get a variance from the village planning board to subdivide the property to allow two houses to be built on the property. 

Luigi Calleo said in recent months he and his brother were hoping to purchase the property to construct a single house on it, but said his company had been unable to strike a deal with the Muzios.

In September, Theresa Muzio said the buyer in contract to purchase the property is not a developer.

One resident asked Blinkoff during the Dec. 8 meeting if the buyer could be related to Muzios.

“I have no reason to believe that,” he said.

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Bryan Ahrens

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