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Friday, August 19, 2022
Home Government $15 Million Enough, Citizens Say Rye City and The Osborn Should Kiss...

$15 Million Enough, Citizens Say Rye City and The Osborn Should Kiss and Make-Up

In a letter presented tonight to Rye City Council and sent to MyRye.com, four Rye citizens including former Rye Mayor Judge John Carey are asking the City and The Osborn retirement home to drop their litigation against one another. The writers claim it has cost city $15 million.

What do you think about the fight between Rye City and The Osborn? Leave a comment below.


For years the taxpayers of Rye have been drained of money to finance seemingly endless litigation over the taxability of property belonging to The Osborn. We are reliably informed that at least fifteen million dollars have been lavished on this pointless crusade. “Pointless” is fair comment, since in the 1970s litigation was avoided entirely through a PILOT, an agreed-upon Osborn payment in lieu of taxes.

The burden of these huge costs has fallen especially hard on those Rye taxpayers who reside in the Rye City School District (RCSD) rather than in the Rye Neck School District . This means most of Rye except for Greenhaven.

Those who enjoy Dickens are bound to be reminded of the endless litigation in his imaginary but all too realistic case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, in which the property fought over was nearly drained by fees and costs.

At the present time, there is a short-lived window of opportunity for negotiation leading to settlement. But the three parties should meet and talk, not just stand by and watch the expenses mount up. And we strongly urge that the parties meet, at least initially, with just the CEOs and CFOs.

After all, when warring countries have exhausted themselves, they do not send their generals to negotiate; they send diplomats and leaders who are used to the give-and-take of bargaining more than to fighting.

In 2007 the New York State Supreme Court in White Plains issued two rulings setting assessments for Osborn property for years up to and including 2003. Those assessments were legally binding on the City Assessor for 2004, 2005 and 2006. But in 2007 and 2008, the assessments were raised to earlier levels, on the theory that the Court’s rulings were not binding on the City until all appeals had run their course.

That argument works both ways: the rulings ARE final, unless stayed, until overturned by a higher court. If need be, additional tax revenue attributable to the higher assessments could be placed in escrow pending the end of the litigation.

The current appeals from the 2007 rulings are awaiting the filing of certain lawyers’ briefs, probably followed by oral arguments in the appeals court in Brooklyn , then followed by that court’s deliberations leading to reversal or approval of the 2007 tax rulings. Then there might be further appeals, to the highest court in New York State , the Court of Appeals in Albany . That would entail further drains for the taxpayers of Rye , especially those in the RCSD area, in a time of severe recession and job losses.

Now the time is ripe to put an end to the hemorrhaging of the resources of the City, of RCSD and of The Osborn (and its residents, who are required to pay their proportionate share of Osborn’s City and RCSD tax bills without the benefit of tax deductions or war veterans’ benefits).

Now is the time for our leaders to respond to the severe recession that is eating away at our personal savings and call a halt to this costly jousting.

Here is what we, as Rye taxpayers, urge as strongly as we can: let each of the three parties drop their appeals to the court in Brooklyn and comply with the 2007 rulings of Judge Dickerson, who is now a member of the court in Brooklyn where the appeals will be heard if they are not dropped. And let the parties explicitly commit not to violate the legal prohibition against selective reassessment, a form of protection that all taxpayers including The Osborn are entitled to.

Let your decision be made with the wellbeing of the taxpayers in mind, in preference to what litigious persons might wish to see continue.

From: John Carey, Bertrand de Frondeville , Arthur Jacobs, John Sherwin


  1. Sounds like another windfall case for Mr. Plunkett. If we get rid of him next, we will save millions in legal fees and settlements.

  2. Here’s an idea – why not take over the Osborn and run it as an enterprise fund? I can think of lots of friends who need jobs, and I can park a ton of grey-haired voters there as well!

  3. Judge Carey’s above reference to the characters of Charles Dickens in this Osborn Home litigation fiasco is entirely appropriate and dead on.

    Now which Dickens characters might come to mind for some of those hyper defensive actors last night on the council bench who publically denigrated your efforts and, I believe, personally defamed you?

    (His Honor is, I believe, acting as a private citizen in this matter and would thus likely NOT be considered a “public figure” under protected speech laws.)

    I’ll let the lawyers among us opine on the defamation boundaries but given the rich selection of Dickens characters we can, ‘ya know’, draw from, ‘OK,’ quite a rich palette of conflicted, ‘OK,’ even somewhat inflated, ‘ya know,’ personalities.

  4. Once again TedC you show your true colors. The fact Osborn
    has the highest concentration of millionaires in westchester county and trys to hide behind a non-profit tag and sued BOE,County and City over a assessor’s decision
    puts you in the same similar failed assessment judicial decision as Rye’s Boca Raton resort.

  5. I just love redistribution – doesn’t everyone? I mean them that don’t got it, need it, right? And who could better spend the dough than a NYS pol? Well maybe a California pol but that’s beside the point cause they’ve gone bust.

    But what you do when you see a honeypot, ok, is you go for it. Tell everyone its fairness you’re after, ok, and they’ll half believe you. Then you tell them this is only going to hurt old people and by the time you’re old you’ll be long gone from this tiny confiscatory city and they might think right, I’m only here for the schools, no way I can ever think of retiring here. Then you tell them the old folks are rich, ok, and they figure you’re probably gilding the lily a bit but since they are more likely than not originally from someplace else, going someplace else after the kids graduate they “buy” your proposition.

    And the hired litigators smile, shake their heads and pocket the first of many huge fees to come.

    My “true colors” fellow “Garnet Graduate” are for an affordable Rye that respects the investments made in BOTH education and senior care. I wouldn’t redistribute from one to the other on an artificial social need pretext. Fairness – even Hitler used the word liberally.


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