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Thursday, December 8, 2022
Home Government The Hen Island Dispute and Mr. Floatie

The Hen Island Dispute and Mr. Floatie

The following response to comments made by Hen Island homeowner Mike Johnston were provided to MyRye.com by fellow Hen Island homeowner Ray Tartaglione. Tartaglione is in a dispute with Rye City and other Hen Island homeowners regarding alleged poor environmental conditions on the island.

Mr_floatie_carTartaglione is behind the web site www.HEALtheHARBOR.com and Mr. Floatie, a "a seven foot turd that will soon be walking up and down on Purchase street greeting residents handing out Hershey bars an business cards,  bringing attention to all the issues on Hen Island that have been ignored for years," according to Tartaglione. Tartaglione’s response follows:

In response to Mike Johnston’s concerns and comments, my position and beliefs are these:

Mayor Otis. The Mayor is neglecting and covering up the present issues on Hen Island.  Hen Island since inception has not been required to comply with any health, safety, building or environmental standards as set forth in the Rye City Code. Go to the Building Department and see if there are any electrical, plumbing or health department approvals on file. You will find only one electrical permit and that was issued in June before the electrical system was completely installed??? Last year, four Certificates of Occupancies were issued on Hen Island.  Also last year, one resident was issued a violation for building a 20’ high retaining wall without a permit along the shoreline, after a complaint was filed from a neighboring community.  If you ask the building department about this violation, they will tell you they lost the paperwork.  Just this summer, Mayor Otis, the Rye Zoning Board and the Building Department allowed a new home to be constructed on Hen Island without enforcing many of the codes, which are in place to protect the environment as well as the community.  In this case, a C/O was issued even prior to the house being completed.

Mr. Plunkett, Rye’s attorney, has instructed City officials not to respond to any of my concerns in writing or otherwise from the onset of my complaints. In a previous matter, Mr. Plunkett had instructed Dobbs Ferry village officials to not respond to my concerns.  As a result of Mr. Plunkett’s views, the village of Dobbs Ferry paid over $2.5 million dollars in damages.  Mr. Plunkett defended and lost the case.  Nonetheless, his fees were paid.  See The New York Times, December 24, 2006.

Mr. Plunkett is presently trying to convince the Dobbs Ferry Town Board to appeal the case and incur even more legal fees. Mr. Plunkett is also presently defending the City of Rye and the Rye Zoning Board in New York Supreme Court in, Tartaglione v. The Zoning Board of Appeals of the City of Rye, Kuder Island Colony, Inc., and Gary Ederer.

Ray_tartaglione_2(PHOTO: Ray Tartaglione) I have gone on record that I would be most pleased to dismiss the case if the City of Rye compels the home owner to install a compliant septic system and drill a well for potable water, as would be required anywhere else in Rye or Westchester County.

http://healtheharbor.com/correspondence/edererconstplan.html Why would the City of Rye not want compliance?
Now to Mr. Johnson.

Just because the residents of Hen Island have been polluting and living unsafely for 60+ years doesn’t mean it should be allowed to continue.  It is simply a matter of bringing safe and sanitary conditions to the Island.  To be clear, I am not asking for "individuals" to comply — I am asking for ALL OF US to comply.  We have a responsibility to ourselves, our children, our guests, the other residents of the Island, the people who use Milton Harbor, and the environment.

The New York Times interview Mr. Johnston references was conducted during a time when I was lead to believe by the Board of Directors that the water and sewage systems on Hen Island were compliant.  I maintain my view that Hen Island is one of the most beautiful places in Westchester County and feel very fortunate to live along the shores of the Sound in Rye.  I am, however, embarrassed by the lack of responsibility by some of my fellow Islanders.  Why not have the systems tested in accordance with the request of the Long Island Soundkeeper?  I believe your father would be ashamed of the way you are defending polluters.

With regard to your claim about my “untrue rants about Hen Island,” I welcome anyone who would like to witness them first-hand to contact me mailto:ray@rjtauto.com and I will be happy to give them a personal tour of the Island.  Let them reserve their judgment about the Island and me until they meet me and tour the Island.

This is no longer just a few Hen Island homeowners complaining. There are now thousands who are interested in this matter who are watching it very closely, due to the exposure received from the website at www.HEALtheHARBOR.com, commercials and news pieces on Channel 12, acknowledgment from others on YouTube (such as The Kid From Brooklyn), and others. 

It is my hope that with the coming introduction of Mr. Floatie in and around Westchester and New York City that this will receive national attention.

As to your ad hominem attacks on me, they are false and do not deserve further response. I thank you, Mr. Johnston, for bringing these very serious issues to everyone’s attention, and I, too, shall continue to do so.

Ray Tartaglione


  1. Anyone who knows Mr. Tartaglione will have to acknowledge he’s received some (lots) of help with his response….His use of the term “ad hominem” is a give-away….The crude language and taunts he utilizes are more representative of his being….I wonder why he didn’t see fit to “attach” his unedited Channel 12 rant to his website…He has chosen to include, for everyone’s entertainment, a very crude song, a very descriptive and crude term for his Mr. Floatie…and, His shill, The Big Kid From Brooklyn, using language you wouldn’t find except on cable TV….I’m not at all surprised….
    When Mr. Tartaglione professes to want to protect his family, I suspect he’s using some poetic license there….I don’t recall seeing any of his family members on Hen Island….ever…
    His literal “Catcher in the Rye” attempt at saving all of us from ourselves is silly. His lawsuits are a waste of time and resources, both for the Hen Islanders who have to defend themselves as well as the various courts he’s been appearing in regularly. Unsuccessfully, I might add.
    When he addresses the interview in the New York Times, he states it was “conducted during a time when I was lead to believe by the Board of Directors that the water and sewage systems on Hen Island were compliant.” ….He convieniently fails to mention he was President of this Board of Directors…If he was unaware of the water and sewage systems on Hen Island, there is no wonder why he was removed from his position….By the way, It’s Mike Johnson, not Johnston….
    Will YOU be wearing the Mr. Floatie outfit?….It would be very appropriate if you would….I suspect you will not.

  2. I have been following this with interest since Mr. Tartaglion first caught my attention about the situation on Hen Island.

    What bothers me even more than the obvious violations and environmental nightmares are the personal attacks launched directly at Mr. Tartaglion WITHOUT RESPONDING TO A SINGLE VIOLATION.

    I don’t know the whole story – but I know mud-slinging and issue avoidance when I hear it. Mr. Johnson is more interested in character assasination than in answering any of the specific charges.

    For example. he says there is no reference of Mr. Tartaglion AND Dobbs Ferry AND NY Times and then takes an obviously cheap shot using an out of context quote. He neglects to point out that there IS a reference to Dobbs Ferry and the case in question and that the village’s attorneys HAVE made millions. – (Link actually published in the orig article above.)

    I will continue to follow this issue with great interest in the hopes that Mr. Tartaglion’s specific charges will be addressed. We’ll see.

  3. Okay, granted, I live on the “other side” of the Hudson River and publish a business-oriented magazine to boot, but as a journalist and publisher, this is just too juicy to stay away from.

    It should be noted that Mr. Tartaglion has made two very telling offers that nobody seems to be recognizing…

    1. Mr. Targlion has stated, …”I would be most pleased to dismiss the case if the City of Rye compels the home owner to install a compliant septic system and drill a well for potable water, as would be required anywhere else in Rye or Westchester County.”

    2. He also states… “With regard to your claim about my “untrue rants about Hen Island,” I welcome anyone who would like to witness them first-hand to contact me and I will be happy to give them a personal tour of the Island. Let them reserve their judgment … until they meet me and tour the Island.”

    When “officials” answer allegations by slinging mud and avoiding actual issues, my journalistic instincts start tingling.

    Might there be other issues in these “public offices” that should be explored carefully as well?

  4. Wow, what a case of avoiding the true issues that seem to be on Hen Island.

    I have lived in Rye for over 35+ years. I think it is one of the most beautiful communities in Westchester County. Over the years, I have heard a lot of buzz about Hen Island. Many have said “it exists under the radar”. Well, here is what I think!

    My husband and I are avid kayackers. One fall day, we decided to go ashore on Hen Island. We were curious, after all, it is water-front property in Rye. We were not only shocked, we could not believe the ramshackle of homes that existed on this small island. We did not realize there were three of them for one was enough for us.
    It seems as though the city officials, don’t care enough about this small island because as I said before “it seems to exist under the radar” To me, it seems like the people living there just want to say they “have a house on the water” when in actuality, they can not afford to live in a house on the water.

    In my opinion, it all comes down to dollars and cents and not the real issues of safety, both environmentally and physically. I’ll bet, Mr. Tartaglione has a few dollars, or he does now, after that settlement in Dobbs Ferry.
    Mr Johnson, I ask you why would you attack this man’s personal character when he in fact, he is only trying to clean up a place that has been in disrepair for so many years and still is in disrepair? You can not tell me violations or not, that the people on Hen Island take pride in their homes for if they did, I assure you they would not be living in the manner in which they are living.

    So, instead of attacking a man’s character, you must ask yourself, why is he spending all of this time, effort and money on something that he is not passionate about? And, why are you so angry with him for trying to bring this place up to code? It all comes down to money I would think. Money that may not be available to people who have been living on Hen Island for years. Well, I’m sorry to say, but life is forever changing and people everyday are adjusting there lives to live within there means but that does not mean, sacrificing safety.

    I saw the commercial on TV and probably the most disturbing thing that I saw were the propane tanks tied to a tree where there was a child’s slide/swing. For me, there is no dollar amount that can be placed on a child’s life. My husand and I will be taking Mr. Tartaglione up on his tour offer and I encourage others to do the same.

    So Mr. Johnson instead of attacking this man’s character, why not join forces with him and make the island that YOU CLAIM TO LOVE SO MUCH, a safer, cleaner and enviromentally friendly place for your family and stop avoiding the real issues at hand.

  5. Read the New York Times interview of Mr. Tartaglione I “attached” to my initial reply….Issues are not being avoided…Issues are being addressed….When Mr. Tartaglione offers to “drop his lawsuit”, when the individual he is suing “installs a compliant septic system and drills a well for potable water” he is making demands which he himself has not complied with…There are NO wells on Hen Island, for obvious reasons….Mr. Tartaglione has no well..The water gathered for use in washing dishes or showering is is gathered in the same way it’s gathered in Bermuda… Lots of folks visit that beautiful island yearly..Drinking water is hauled to the island by individuals as they need it…When you’re camping and you need to was your dishes, where do you get the water from?…A nearby stream, perhaps..Is that water clean?…People have been out at Hen Island for generations. There have been no outbreaks of illness or disease…There have not been instances of raw sewage, from Hen Island, going into Long Island Sound…As happenns every year with large, waterfront communities in Westchester, necessitating the closing of beaches….These are summer campsites…They are not year-round residences..They are owned by individuals whose families were infatuated with the idea of owning a campsite on the water and bright enough to follow through with establishing individual camps there….Sierra, you and your husband were trespassing on private property, when you went ashore. If you’ve lived in Rye for 35+ years, you should be aware of what’s private property and what’s not. Additionally, there are not three houses there, there are 30+. Perhaps you were on the wrong island….M. Johnson (a Rye resident and homeowner for 60+ years)

  6. I like to deal with facts vs. myth. But with the exception of Mr. Johnson, who has first hand knowledge of the issues, others who have commented seem to believe everything is as they see & read… that has be spoon-fed via one side.

    Pls Note Mr. Johnson: I believe Ray is simply faking all but one authored comments above (e.g., the 35+ yr Rye resident “Sierra Jolie” does not exist & his style of writing is like a fingerprint that is obviously identifiable).

    I am impressed that a single individual, Ray (albeit with hired help and money), would spent so much time and energy in attempting to distort reality and deceive others. That is impressive; however the facts remain the facts… and Mr. ‘Codfather’, black is not white. You do however have major mental issues, and I do hope you receive help as your energy directed properly could do benefit.

    Ray, just because you wanted to spray pesticides on the island, in a wetlands, and an intelligent board stopped you (which you sued because they wouldn’t let you pollute the Sound—The Truth Hurts!) does not make you an environmentalist… just a baby.

  7. To the person who’s posted signature is “Spam Others”… No, I am NOT Mr. Tartaglione. I am exactly who I said I am.

    Not only are YOU dealing myth instead of fact, but your statement “…his style of writing is like a fingerprint that is obviously identifiable.” is just more mud slinging in an sordid attempt to change the subject.

  8. Dear Mrs. Frank Reynolds,
    Thanks for the welcome back. I am not sure if you are a supporter or just being sarcastic but in either event, thank you for the warm welcome.
    My car is back in town for the 09 summer season however the City “for some strange reason” is not a fan of mine. They have just begun to improperly issue parking tickets for Beach parking violations along Milton Road. I find it strange how my car is the only violator. I am getting the feeling they don’t like or want the car in Rye.
    The City has recently made some monumental moves in a positive direction with regard to Hen Island building and safety issues. As a result my ass-istant Jack A. has already left. I have begun to pack my bags and sadly may not last out the summer season in Rye.
    Hopefully in the near future they will address the most serious of the violations, the sewage polluting the Sound and the potable water threatening the residents and guest of Hen Island. Once they commence to enforce the laws designed to protect the residents and the environment, I will be leaving and my car will be going back to the car shows where it originally came from.
    To my non-supporters, I do sincerely apologize in advance for all the disruption, inconvenience and embarrassment I may have caused. And to my supporters, thank you for all the encouragement, ideas, and mostly for helping to make a very uncomfortable situation, as pleasant as possible. Mrs. R, I hope you enjoy this summer and all the beauty, the city of Rye has to offer. I am sure Ray will leave his doors on Hen Island open to you, should you ever decide to take a look at the breathtaking portion of beauty Hen Island offers.

  9. On November 3rd – Help Me Get Rid of Mr. Floatie

    Rye residents who’ve been following City Council meetings or driving around town have become familiar – reluctantly – with Mr. Floatie and his associate, Jack. A. And many of you probably know that I am their sponsor.

    But what you may not know that it has never been my intention to offend or embarrass the people of Rye. I love this City and its wetlands and watercourses of which the Long Island Sound is part of. So to any of you who have been affronted by Mr. Floatie’s presence here, I sincerely apologize.

    I introduced these characters for the sole purpose of drawing attention to the serious environmental and sanitary legal violations which threaten the health and beauty of the community we live in and treasure. And although I only get to live in Rye part of the year, it is the place I value most.

    By now I hope that most here realize that Mr. Floatie’s amiable presence has in fact brought much needed attention to the issues of clean water and a healthy environment. But I know that many people here just simply wish he would go away.

    I am emphatically one of those people.

    Nothing would please me more than to retire Jack. A., Mr. Floatie and The Floatie Mobile forever. But I need your help. I cannot – in good conscience – retire this hard-working activist for a healthier Rye if nothing is going to change in Rye City Hall.

    For many years Steve Otis has looked the other way on the Hen Island clean-up investigation. He has exercised his Mayoral “discretion” in the matter and proven
    that he has no intention of enforcing the laws on the books which protect the sensitive sound shore environment that he gives so much lip service to.

    What can we do? If politicians don’t act responsibly where discretionary enforcement is concerned our only recourse is to take a stand in the voting booth. So please remember this Tuesday- November 3rd – to vote Steve Otis out of office by electing Doug French.

    With a fresh start and Doug French in the Mayor’s chair I’m sure Rye will soon be the safe, healthy, non-polluting waterside haven it should always remain. That’s what I’ve ever been working for and hoping for.

    Help Me Hand Mr. Floatie His Walking Papers.

    Say Goodbye to Steve Otis So We Can All Say Goodbye to Mr. Floatie

    Ray Tartaglione

  10. oh Raymond…Flush
    For hypocrisy..Did you change your septic system illegally?
    For credibility did you never change your septic system and lied about it?
    no lantern for you?
    But a flush from linus…

  11. Matt,
    I know the last place the Hen Island controversy belongs is in the City Council meetings. However when I first brought my complaints to the City “off the record” I was told that the city would embrace me for bring the sewage issues on Hen Island to light. After a inspection of Hen Island in July of 2007 that originally was going to close the Island, until the sewage issues were addressed per the Westchester County Environmental Enforcement Unit and the Building Department, a few weeks later I was told by the building Department that the City Attorney has advised them not to respond to any of my complaints. After one year of one way communication never addressed between me, the Building Department, The City manager, the Mayor and the City Council we witnessed the birth of Mr. Floatie.

    You may have a difficult time believing the father of Mr. Floatie for the past 35 years has run a very successful business in White Plains and is a much respected businessman in the White Plains community. We all make mistakes. In my years of dealing with the public I have found that it is in the best interest of everyone concerned to nip the complaints in the butt, take responsibility, trace the problem to its origin, and then put in place a plan so the problem doesn’t get repeated again. That never took place in Rye on any level. I link this to my first post on my Rye in July of 2008 for obvious reasons.

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