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Friday, December 19, 2014
Island Park insurer: Let locals pay
Howard Schwach/Herald
Homes on D’Amato Drive were built under federal program to construct homes for minority homeowners.

With the 1990 federal lawsuit against the Village of Island Park reportedly nearing settlement, that lawsuit has been coupled for more than 210 years by the court with another that has sat largely in the background — a suit by the national company that insured Island Park during that period that asked the court to move the burden of any financial settlement away from the company and onto former officials and residents of the village.

That companion case, which has been working through the Eastern District federal court system parallel to the government’s case against the village, is called National Casualty Co. Vs. the Incorporated Village of Island Park, in which the village’s insurer seeks to limit its liability in the central lawsuit brought in 1990, by holding the village’s former mayor and its former village trustees — Jacqueline Papatsos, Charlotte Kikkert, Phillip Taglianetti and James Fallon — liable for the damages.

Court documents obtained by the Herald show that on August 13, a civil hearing was held before Chief Magistrate Judge Steven Gold, the judge who has been working on the case for many years. According to the “Minute Entry” registered after the hearing, “[National Casualty, Island Park and the Government] report that all required approvals of federal officials have been obtained, and the Village board meets later this week and is expected to issued its approval at that time. The parties will promptly seek to .. remand this issue from the Second Circuit. The parties will submit a letter by September 4, reporting on the status of their efforts to discontinue [U.S. vs. Incorporated Village of Island Park and National Casualty Vs. the Incorporated Village of Island Park.]”

The village board met on August 15 and approved a motion to authorize its attorney to sign a consent decree settling the cases. That decree must be approved by Gold.

While the details of the settlement have not been released, the village has promised a meeting “in the near future” to reveal the settlement details to village residents.

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