Hen Island The Movie Cast List
Executive Director, HEALtheHARBOR.com
“Out of 17 positive test results this year, why did 15 of them test positive within 5 miles of Hen Island? That’s not an accident.”
A Hen Island homeowner for over 17 years, Ray Tartaglione served as Corporate President of Kuder Island Colony Inc., the Hen Island holding corporation, from 2000-2002. When Mr. Tartaglione began to question why island conditions, such as the dubious sewage disposal and makeshift water collection systems could not be improved, he was stonewalled by fellow board members and eventually voted off the board by a majority of shareholders.
In 2007 Mr. Tartaglione was forced to begin legal actions and a public awareness campaign in order to force remediation of the health, safety and environmental issues that had gone unchecked for years.
While Mr. Tartaglione’s methods of drawing attention to the unsafe and illegal conditions on Hen Island were seen by some as controversial, the pressure from his disclosures resulted in the dismissal of two successive Rye political administrations as the voting public searched for a political leader who would no longer tolerate selectively enforced health, safety and environmental laws in Rye.
Chief Prosecuting Attorney, Riverkeeper
Founder/Chairman, Waterkeeper Alliance
“You’ve got basically a criminal enterprise occurring on Hen Island, and everybody there knows it, but they have been able to get away with it by capturing and influencing illegally, the agencies that are supposed to protect the people of New York State from pollution.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s success as an environmental activist and attorney is recognized worldwide. Named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet,” Mr. Kennedy led the Riverkeeper organization in the fight to restore the Hudson River. His achievement resulted in the development of over 185 Waterkeeper organizations around the world. Collectively these organizations are known as The Waterkeeper Alliance. Mr. Kennedy currently serves as the Chairman of the Board.
Mr. Kennedy is also a Clinical Professor and Supervising Attorney at a Pace University Environmental Litigation Clinic. Earlier in his career, Mr. Kennedy is credited with leading the fight to protect New York City’s water supply.
Executive Director, Long Island Sound Keeper 1987-2015
Connecticut State Representative 1993-2015
“Suffice it to say, we have enough information to know that Hen Island sewage has only one place to go, and that’s into the Long Island Sound”
Terry Backer is the Executive Director of Long Island Soundkeeper, the second of the “Keeper” based organizations. A Connecticut native, Mr. Backer’s father supported his family as a commercial lobster and shell fisherman. Mr. Backer developed a deep respect for the water, as Long Island Sound served as his family’s “sphere of life” for decades. As a young man, Mr. Backer earned a license as a Merchant Marine Officer from the US Coast Guard.
After witnessing years of degradation of the Long Island Sound water quality, Mr. Backer, along with John Cronin and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., founded the Long Island Soundkeeper organization in 1987. Backer, in his capacity as Executive Director of Soundkeeper, has brought numerous Clean Water Act lawsuits against polluters of Long Island Sound as well as a federal lawsuit that challenged the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Mr. Backer has been a Connecticut State Representative since 1993 in the 121st Assembly District. He is also the Chairman of the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Conservation and Development.
Executive Police Director of Emergency Management Unit
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
““These systems were illegally installed, and never approved by any municipality, or our Health Department. They have the potential to cause pollution, not only to the people on the island, but the water quality at the City of Rye marina and bay area as well…. We also noticed this area appeared to have a mosquito infestation. This director and other officials were severely bitten””
Labeled by the New York Times as the “Watershed Warrior”, Ron Gatto has an established reputation as the toughest environmental investigator on the planet. Early in his career, Mr. Gatto worked as a Captain in charge of investigations, protecting the New York City watershed.
In 2007, as Police Director of the Environmental Security Unit for Westchester County, Mr. Gatto headed an investigation of environmental violations on Hen Island. His inspection report documented the absence of potable water, the use of illegal and un-permitted sewage pits along the shores of Long Island Sound, as well as a severe mosquito infestation caused in part by stagnant water collected in horse troughs throughout the island.
Upon filing his inspection report, in preparation for an island shutdown, Mr. Gatto was re-assigned off of the case by his superiors.
Although the Island was inspected in 2007 by Inspector Gatto, his detailed investigation report was intentionally left open for one year. This action prevented the document from becoming evidential information in the trial Ray Tartaglione v. Kuder Island Colony Inc., as it became restricted under Freedom of Information Law.
Inspector Gatto is currently employed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a Police Director where he continues to protect the environment from his new position.
“Hi five for high fiber!”
The Mr. Floatie character was conceived and developed by Canadian activist James Skwarok to raise awareness for the goals of a local environmental organization – People Opposed To Outfall Pollution (P.O.O.P) – targeting the lack of sewage treatment in Victoria, British Columbia.
In 2007, Ray Tartaglione and P.O.O.P. negotiated an agreement that allowed HEALtheHARBOR.com the use of Mr. Floatie, his character and likeness, in the United States for any non-profit environmental awareness campaign. Mr. Floatie is a friendly poo, who walks a fine brown line between raising awareness and causing a stink. Utilizing the stools of his trade, his mission is to publicize the lack of sewage treatment on Hen Island.
There is however a methane to his madness: Mr. Floatie has spent years floating around in Milton Harbor in Rye, without a home. His hope is to one day be contained with others of his own kind where he can be “treated” appropriately. As the saying goes, “great behinds stink alike,” and the majority of residents in the Rye community agree that Mr. Floatie “has to go.”
Civil and Environmental Engineer
“The existing conditions at Hen Island are of concern to me because there are occurrences of sewage pollution affecting both the site and Long Island Sound.”
A civil and environmental engineer practicing in Westchester County for over 35 years, Mr. Carnicelli is currently a member of the Westchester Board of Health where he served as Vice President for approximately 20 years.
Mr. Carnicelli has visited Hen Island on numerous occasions and by way of a letter dated August 4, 2011, Mr. Carnicelli notified the Rye City Council of a serious mosquito infestation, a lack of potable water, and pollution entering Long Island Sound by way of makeshift sewage pits.
Rye City Mayor 1998-2009
“I am not going to be here to do this again with you again because I am sort of tired of it”
New York State Assemblyman Steve Otis (D) represents the 91st Assembly District in Westchester County, which includes the communities along the Long Island Sound of Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Port Chester, Rye Brook and Rye. Mr. Otis served as Mayor of the City of Rye for 12 years from 1998 to 2009.
In 2002, Mayor Otis brought in attorney Kevin Plunkett as the Rye City Corporation Counsel. Subsequently, litigation activity rapidly expanded, making it the fastest growing expense category in the city. Some of the litigation matters underlying these record charges were mundane, while others were extraordinarily out-of-pattern for Rye.
In 2007, Mr. Plunkett acting under Mr. Otis, directed the Rye City Building Inspector and other mid level city officials not to respond to any of Mr. Tartaglione’s concerns and correspondence about conditions on Hen Island. This tactic had the desired effect, as Mr. Tartaglione was forced to commence litigation in order to get answers and force public disclosures.
Mr. Otis has been a member of regional environmental and conservation political groups for many years. None of these groups have visited Hen Island, or spoken out in support of remediation, despite Hen Island being located in the environmentally sensitive gateway waters of the Westchester’s Sound Shore Region.
A native of Harrison, NY, Mr. Otis is a graduate of Hobart & William Smith Colleges and holds a master’s degree in public administration from NYU and a law degree from Hofstra University School of Law.
Rye City Mayor, 2010-2014
“The ongoing complaints about sewage, potable water and mosquitos on the island, were once again investigated by the County, and again showed no violations on any of those issues.” – August 17, 2012
Serving as Rye City Mayor (R) from 2010-2014, Douglas French was unable to run for reelection after a series of Rye municipal frauds surfaced during his administration, some undertaken by him personally.
In 2011, Mr. French was unmasked by Ray Tartaglione as owning an illegally converted and improved rental property in Rye, with an illegal STAR property tax exemption collected over a 10 year period. A felony in New York State for which he was not charged for, Mr. French was forced to pay nearly $17,000 in restitution and penalties to Westchester County.
Other highlights of French’s tumultuous tenure include the active stonewalling of investigations and remediations for both Hen Island and Schubert’s Destroyed Wetlands – two high-profile local issues that allowed Mr. French and his “Change For Rye” teammates to originally win election against Mr. Otis and his team’s slate.
Through televised podium appearances at Rye City Council meetings, Mr. Tartaglione revealed the relationship between Mayor Doug French and The Volpe family, his Meadow Place neighbors in Rye and personal friends. At the time, The Volpe family controlled the Board of Directors on Hen Island.
Prior to his election in 2009, Mr. French met with Mr. Tartaglione and assured him of remediation of the Hen Island health and safety threats. Based on these campaign promises, Mr. Tartaglione actively supported Mr. French’s mayoral bid by organizing a fundraiser while also utilizing Mr. Floatie as means of drawing negative publicity towards Steve Otis, Mr. French’s opponent.
Rye City Mayor, 2014-Present
“It’s worse than anyplace I’ve been in Rye” (in answer to a query about mosquito infestation from another Rye councilmember on public TV)
Elected to the Rye City Council in 2008, Joe Sack served six years as a Councilman before winning the Mayor’s seat in a decisive victory over Deputy Mayor Peter Jovanovich in 2013.
While Mr. Sack ran uncontested in his first election, four years later he garnered the majority votes in a six-way race for three City Council seats.
Dubbed by Ray Tartaglione in 2008 as “the voice of reason”, Sack as a Councilman was often portrayed in the local media as an independent statesman who often voted alone against the Council majority spanning across two different administrations. His independent voice on the dais as an advocate for open government and transparency across a variety of issues earned him popularity throughout the community.
Pertaining to Hen Island, Mr. Sack had consistently advocated for a resolution to the issues, while dispelling the suggestion by his Council colleagues that the nature of Mr. Tartaglione’s complaints should be ignored because of his controversial delivery.
In 2009, Mr. Sack questioned multiple times why the Westchester County Health Department was unable to appear before the City Council and validate their health inspections.
After a July 2013 mid-morning inspection of Hen Island with Massachusetts Mosquito Control Commissioner Kimberly King, Joe Sack confirmed publicly at the next Rye City Council meeting that the mosquito infestation on Hen Island was “worse than he has ever seen.”
Now in 2016 as Mayor he refuses to have the city issue violations for the illegal storage of thousands of gallons of bird feces infected water and the worst mosquito infestation on record in New York.
Upon his election to the Mayor’s seat in 2014, Mayor Sack asked for a “fresh look” at the issues in an effort to provide resolution to a nearly seven year discussion discourse.
Unfortunately three months after his second inspection of the Island Mayor Sack chose to follow the same misleading statements as his predecessors Steve Otis and Doug French. Mayor Sack publicly proclaimed that the lack of potable water and sewage treatment combined with over 30 thousand gallons of stored bird feces infected water and acres of mosquito breeding grounds caused no threat to public health or the environment.
Professionally, Mr. Joe Sack is a litigation attorney in private practice with offices on Wall Street and in Westchester County.
“Administrative action that treats differently parties that are similarly situated, sometimes called ‘selective enforcement’, can violate the constitutional requirement of equal protection of the laws.”
Best known as the Presiding Judge on the internationally watched Carolyn Warmus Murder Trial, Judge John Carey also served as Rye City Mayor from 1976 until 1982. A 1957 graduate of Harvard Law School and a nearly 60 year Rye City resident, Judge Carey has enjoyed a lengthy career as an attorney prior to his election as a New York State Supreme Court Judge in 1985.