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Investigation: The Mayor's Illegal Abode

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Uploaded on Dec 19, 2011

MAYOR FRENCH'S ILLEGAL ABODE: RYE, NY-- December, 2011. City of Rye mayor, Doug French, has owned an illegal single-family home in Rye for 19 years. Public records show that Mayor French has used the property as an income-producing asset for the past 12 years (including the 2+ years he's been mayor)... renting the "4-bedroom colonial" (with the 4th bedroom being in the finished attic) for $4,500 per month--since January 1, 2000.

The mayor's own real estate listings from 1999 to the present, show that the house was beautifully updated over the past decade. The only problem is, Mr. French never obtained permits or approvals for the improvements--and the home wasn't a legal 4-bedroom colonial in the first place.

Legally, the house was a two-family home which had only two 1-bedroom apartments.

Mayor French, who is chairman of the law-making body of the City of Rye, has publicly and repeatedly denied owning an illegal property--or being in violation of the city's building code--even though every single relevant document in the City of Rye shows the home as being a legal two-family residence. And even though he received a violation in July of 2011 for building without a permit. Four days after the airing of this video Mayor French received another letter of violation for owning an illegally constructed single family dwelling with an illegally finished attic. Mayor French was forced to pay a $1,000 fine for his transgressions as well.

The City of Rye has not been forthcoming with public records. And now, recent revelations that the mayor "unknowingly" was double-dipping on the NY State School Tax Relief program (for the past 10 years) has the media, and many other people taking a closer look at 13 Richard Place. Three months after the airing of this video Mayor French was forced to pay over $16,000 in past due taxes and penalties to Westchester County for receiving a decades worth of illicit school tax exemptions.

Although it is against the city charter to "have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur any obligation of any nature which is in conflict with or might reasonably tend to conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest," the Rye City Council took no action against Mayor French.

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