Will town’s case against realtor be withdrawn?

While the Town Board considers changes to its rules on real estate signs, the town’s prosecution of Realtor Penelope Moore continues.

Ms. Moore was issued a summons in September asserting that a brochure stand at a Winthrop Road residence violated the town’s temporary sign law, Section 133-27 of town code, which explicitly allows “For Sale by owner” signs. The law has been interpreted as a prohibition against commercial real estate signs.

Al D’Agostino, Ms. Moore’s attorney, has asked Town Attorney Laury Dowd if, in light of proposed changes to the sign law, the charges against Ms. Moore would be withdrawn. He said he has received no response.

Mr. D’Agostino said during an interview on Friday that he attempted to discuss “problematic constitutional issues” relating to the current sign ordinance with Ms. Dowd prior to the issuance of a summons against his client. He was informed that the Town Board wished to enforce the ordinance as written.

Ms. Moore’s summons was not the only one issued against a real estate agent in recent years. On July 10, 2006 real estate agent John Quigley received a summons “for posting a realtor ‘for sale’ sign” at a Midway Road home; property owner John B. Sieni was also issued a summons. 

But those summonses were never prosecuted. In November 2006, Patricia Quigley, John Quigley’s daughter, was elected to serve as Town Justice. Ms. Dowd, responding to a Reporter inquiry this week, said that after Ms. Quigley was sworn in, she recused herself from hearing the case. Judge Helen Rosenblum also recused herself. 

“I was under the impression that Shelter Island Justice Court would transfer the file to another court and waited for them to do it,” Ms. Dowd said. But the court was expecting Ms. Dowd to seek a transfer to another court. “It was a communication problem,” she said, that left the summonses unprosecuted.