Thursday, April 14, 2016


Welcome to Everything Croton, a collection of all things Croton -- our history, our homes, our issues, our businesses, our schools, our houses of worship -- in short, EVERYTHING CROTON.

As many of you know, Mr. Franzoso was recently maligned in a letter to The Gazette by a resident. Please take a moment to read his response which appears in today's Gazette.

April 11, 2016

Dear Editor,

I wanted to praise the letter by Joel Gingold (Croton's Rock Star) and respond to the letter by Richard Masur (Croton's MeTV Star) in last week's Gazette. Gingold's letter hit it out of the park with his analysis of the current barrage of letters emanating from those defeated in last year's elections who are  blatantly laying the groundwork for a rerun. Mr. Masur's letter is the latest in a string of letters bashing the current mayor and board, but Mr. Masur went one step further last week by maligning two prominent business owners/community leaders, including me. Mr. Masur's letter partly addressed the Village Board's action to resolve a claim ignored by the previous administration involving property I own in the Village.

Now the facts, which Mr. Masur ignores in his letter. Several years ago, the Village Board accepted a low bid on a sidewalk construction project in front of property I own. During construction, the contractor hired to install the sidewalk, broke a six inch terracotta sewer pipe and covered up his mistake, probably thinking no one would ever see his shoddy workmanship sealed under inches of concrete.  About a year after the sidewalk was installed, we experienced plumbing problems costing me thousands of dollars. On the advice of a professional plumber I had the sidewalk dug up and discovered the pipe had been broken. The contractor had “fixed” the broken pipe by using a piece of curved plastic cut from a paint bucket—and that's what caused the breach. If he had replaced the section he broke, there never would have been an issue.

I can't stress enough that “low bid” does not have to equal “low quality,” but by accepting the lowest bid, municipalities get stuck with low quality workmanship paid with the taxpayer's dime. The Village is responsible for holding contractors accountable for the quality of their work for public projects. Contractors are required to post a bond to resolve instances like this to protect the public, the Village and the taxpayers so there was money set aside to satisfy this kind of claim.

When I brought this matter to the attention of the previous Village Board, former Mayor Leo Wiegman stated that the Village would refer it to their insurance carrier and that they would take care of it.  And, yes, while time between the sidewalk replacement and the discovery of the broken pipe extended outside the claims window, how was I supposed to know the pipe had been broken and covered up by the contractor at the time of the sidewalk replacement?

For quite some time, I had no communication from the Village about my claim, but subsequently and only after another inquiry, was I told that I had been sent a letter denying the claim (which I never received).  Clearly, nothing had been done to resolve my claim, so as a last resort, I was left with no other choice but to start looking into legal action against the Village.  It wasn't until I advised the Village Manger of my intentions that the issue was brought to the current Village Board for a decision.

By swiftly honoring the claim, and on the advice of the Village Manager, the Mayor and Board overturned an injustice that should have been properly and legally approved by the previous administration. They also avoided the costs of a possible legal battle that they were sure to lose.  I believe former Mayor Wiegman, Trustee Gallelli and their colleagues ignored my original claim because I was an outspoken critic of their policies. All Croton residents should be treated fairly without regard to politics in such matters and we shouldn't be maligned in letters to the editor by mouthpieces beholden to the previous administration.

I am an independent thinker and voter.  I proudly participate in the political process and I voiced my public support for members of the Croton United party during the last elections (including a letter of endorsement to the editor of this same paper) because I saw the need for change in leadership in our Village—and clearly, based on the election results, I was not alone. Many other voters agreed with me and, thankfully, we now have a responsive mayor and board.

The implication by Mr. Masur that there was some sort of impropriety is simply not true and frankly, it is insulting. There was nothing to “disclose” by anyone because I made no secret of who I supported in the last election.  His knowledge of who I supported and which political signs I allowed on my property tell us there was nothing to disclose.  It was public knowledge!  I will continue to use my property to allow other candidates running for office the opportunity to place their campaign banners there if I support their platforms.

I am a taxpayer, property owner, and local business owner who was seeking due process and I believe the Village Board acted in good faith and in the best interests of the Village taxpayers to honor my long overdue claim.  I believe they would have done the same for any other Village property owner who was wronged.

Mr. Masur's personal attack on me is just sour grapes from the bitter taste of a humiliating defeat of his preferred candidates during last year's local elections. I guess we'll be living with a constant barrage of political letters from Mr. Masur and other self-proclaimed political pundits until the remaining vestiges of the Weigman administration are voted out of office or until there's a cast reunion of One Day at a Time.

Mark Franzoso 



  1. With all the good Mark does for the community and you don't know the half of it folks, I bristled when I read that letter. Good job Mark! Here's hoping we can usher in new blood come November. Linda

    1. Yes, exactly. I am so sick and tired of the personal attacks, especially when people don't know the whole story. These people doing the attacking don't seem to realize how terrible it makes THEM, not their target, look.

    2. Isn't Masur the same guy who tried to make it Schmidt's fault when clearwater cancelled their concert even though it was well published that they were having money problems and decided to fix the boat instead?Did that guy ever apologize or did I miss it?

  2. God bless you Mark and thank you for your work on the press box. See you at the Little League Parade? Tom De

  3. This is not the first instance of a debate between a retail property owner and the Village of Croton. Years ago, the owners of the Sav-Mor shopping center discovered water leaking in the basement storage area below the stores. They claimed the water was coming from the rear of the complex from a broken water main owned byt the Village and the Village was responsible to fix the damage. Neither the Village Manager nor the Village Board assumed any responsibility. After a lengthy delay, the Village was found to be responsible and the problem was fixed but not until the owners threatened a lawsuit. The problem is related to the laws governing responsibility. If the leak occurs at the water intake valve on the main water pipe side (i.e. Village side), the Village is responsible. If it's on the other side of the valve, the reponsibility falls on the property owner. The quandary is that there will always be a debate about responsibility until the site is dug up to see who is responsibility. That leads to a lot of finger-pointing until one of the parties agrees to hire a contractor to do the digging. As best I can determine from conversations with the store owners, the Village lost this battle also. Croton home-owners should take note of these laws. I had a leak on the owner's side of the water valve and ended up with a 4 figure repair bill after the plumber dug up the concrete surrounding the water valve. Later I found out that AARP has insurance to cover this type of problem.