By Cosette Nunez and Noah Buttner
The Concerned Citizens of Suffolk County (CCSC), a group with 500 Facebook members, is pushing to elect a new mayor in the village of Islandia. The candidate, Neil Munro, has promised to support the lawsuit challenging the village approval of the new gaming facility, Jake’s 58 Casino on March 21st.
“Islandia has on their code: ‘no adult entertainment.’ They had no resolution the day of this vote established. There was no written resolution,” Neil Munro who is running for mayor said, “The board members that voted , voted on a blank check.”
The Casino began construction in August of last year promising to stimulate the local economy and add 215 jobs. The 18,656 square foot structure was built just off the Long Island Expressway as part of the 2.2 square mile town of islandia according to the United States Census Bureau. Islandia residents have voiced their concerns on Social Media about the casino’s affect on their property values and are now planning to voice their concerns at Islandia Village Hall. There they plan to elect Neil Munro, a candidate who promises to fight to get the casino shut down.
The Concerned Citizens of Suffolk County (CCSC) are fighting to get Munro elected and the casino shut down due to the threat of decreasing property values and reports of disorderly conduct.
“On the first night two men pulled up and were urinating on our the side of our road,” Fran Pekor, founding member of the CCSC and Islandia resident, said.
When members of the CCSC declined to comment when asked about their grievances against the casino. “They are afraid of retaliation, they are afraid of the election” Munro said.
“There are people who don’t want to have prostitutes and drug trafficking around their children” Anton Brovina, a lawyer for the CCSC said. Brovina says the village of Islandia ignored their own code and were bribed by Delaware North, a private casino operator for Suffolk Off-Tracking Betting Corp.
The organization filed an Article 78 on the basis that the casino violates zoning laws and village code with the help of Brovina and two other lawyers one of which is working pro-bono.
“The village code expressly says, it’s not ambiguous, you cannot have a gaming facility in this area of Islandia. All gaming rooms are prohibited,” Brovina said.
Regardless of the outcome of the election, the lawsuit will be heard before Riverhead Supreme Court in April.