An abandoned trailer with a sign that reads “I love you, God. Thank you” on farmland off Route 25 in Calverton has resulted in the owner of the property being issued violations by Riverhead Town for having unregistered vehicles on the property.
The violation led to a colorful exchange at a recent Town Board meeting between board members and the woman who put the sign there.
Marie Tooker painted the sign on the trailer in June and later parked an old fire truck next to it.
She told the Town Board that the vacant trailer has been sitting on that site for 10 years and was never issued a violation.
“Now, I write “I love you, God. Thank you” on it, and you guys issue a violation,” she said, adding that her “1st Amendment rights” were being violated.
“It looks horrible sitting there, I’ll be honest with you,” Councilman Tim Hubbard said. “It looks horrible.”
“Yeah, well everybody loves it,” Ms. Tooker responded, adding that drivers are constantly pulling over to take pictures of it. “It looks horrible? Since 2011, the weeds have been growing there and you’ve never issued a violations for that.”
“The weeds look good and natural,” Mr. Hubbard said. “This is a beat up tractor trailer truck with a sheet hanging over it with a sign on it. It’s not my cup of tea. Sorry.”
“I Love You God. Thank You’ is inappropriate in today’s world?” Ms. Tooker asked.
‘The trailer and the sign is inapropriate,” Mr. Hubbard replied.
Supervisor Sean Walter said he likes the sign.
“We can fix this,” he told Ms. Tooker.
At one point, Councilman Jim Wooten got into a heated exchange with Ms. Tooker after he made fun of her grammar.
“You just love disrespecting me, don’t you?” Ms. Tooker said.
“Oh, it just thrills me,” Mr. Wooten responded.
The violations were issued on July 5, according to court records, for two counts of having unregistered motor vehicles on the property. The violations were issued to Quest Ventures LDT, not Ms. Tooker.
A third charge was for lacking a rental permit on an adjacent property where Ms. Tooker lives.
Quest Ventures, which is listed as the owner of the property in town records, is a company owned by Ms. Tooker’s father, Salvator Guerrero, who had been involved in a foreclosure proceeding against his daughter over that property dating back to 2011. But Ms. Tooker has said she’s recently reconciled with him and moved back on the property.
She claims she owns the four-acre property she’s living on. In addition, she said she’s removed the fire truck and she believes the trailer is not a vehicle, since it doesn’t have a cab on it, and shouldn’t been considered an unregistered vehicle.
Ms. Tooker recently raised eyebrows in Southampton Town as well when she started painting an American flag on a historic building she owns in Flanders.
Photo caption: The truck pictured in June. (Credit: Tim Gannon)