The New York State Supreme Court approved an administrative search warrant to the Village of Mineola to inspect three properties owned by Marie Kinkela, alleging illegal housing activities. According to a Nov. 13 written decision obtained by the Mineola American, the village building department is looking to search one home on Raff Avenue and two dwellings on Sheridan Boulevard.
“We want to make sure those buildings comply with the code and that she’s adhering to the guilty plea that she took,” Mayor Scott Strauss said. “She agreed with these inspections and now she’s going back on it.”
The village attempted to search one property on Nov. 19, but were rebuffed by Kinkela. Mineola officials called Nassau County police to assist with the search. Attempts to reach Kinkela via phone were unavailing.
“We were there [on Nov. 19],” Strauss said. “We assisted the police department in the execution of the warrant from the Supreme Court. She refused to open the door.”
According to court documents, Kinkela unsuccessfully sought dismissal of the warrant, arguing then-Acting Village Justice Richard O’Callaghan, Village Building Superintendent Dan Whalen and Mineola legal counsel reps from Spellman, Rice, Schure, Gibbons, McDonough, Polizzi and Truncale were not properly appointed to their positions. She argued her due process rights were violated and the village reps were not first appointed by Strauss before being voted on by the board of trustees.
“The defendant fails to raise to an issue as to the merits of the proceedings commenced against her,” Hon. F. Dan Winslow said in the decision. “Rather defendant bases her motion on the grounds that the Justice Court at the time it presided over proceedings that were not properly constituted in that the appointments of [O’Callaghan, Whalen and the law firm] and prosecutors were unlawful under village law. The court finds that the issues…are not properly raised in cross-motion.”
Kinkela will appear in Supreme Court sometime in December, according to village attorney John Spellman.
“We subsequently filed a motion to bring her in to punish her for contempt to set a hearing,” he said.
Prior to the decision last month, Kinkela was ordered to pay $4,500 in fines after an earlier dispute of properties in October 2012, according to the documents. Kinkela appeared in Village Court on Oct. 17, 2012 on 26 court summonses before agreeing to pay the fines and allow Whalen to inspect each house no later than on Oct. 26, 2012, according to the decision.
“The homes are nice,” Strauss said recently. “They’re kept up well. But they are trampling on the neighborhood. They have people renting apartments, allegedly and I don’t know if they’re sending kids to the schools or not paying their fair share of taxes. Possibly illegal occupancies. She’s pled guilty and refuses to obey the court order.”
Kinkela submitted a letter to the village court requesting a new hearing, claiming, “she was given poor legal advice at the time” she settled in Village Court. Acting Justice Richard O’Callaghan denied Kinkela’s motion on Nov. 30, 2012 and ordered her to pay the fines.
The decision required Kinkela to let Mineola inspect the homes by Dec. 17, 2012. O’Callaghan also ordered Kinkela to restore the properties to single-family dwellings before Feb. 28, 2013.
In December, before the inspection deadline, Mineola attempted to inspect the properties, but Kinkela “refused to comply,” according to court documents. Mineola attempted to execute search warrants in April 2013 and May 2014.
According to a May 15 letter, Whalen “informed the defendant that the village would execute search warrants on May 28, 2014.” The papers state that on May 28, police and Whalen attempted to inspect the home, but Kinkela once again refused access at one property while no one answered the door at the other two dwellings.
“We’re going to keep going,” Strauss said. “Just because the owner of the property refuses to open the door doesn’t mean we’re going to back down. We’re right here.”