Tower charges dropped over mental health concerns

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The widow's walk-type structure atop a Calverton home is teh start of a grand plan to match an 8,500-square-foot South Fork mansion.
PAUL SQUIRE FILE PHOTO | This widow’s walk-type structure atop a Calverton home was the start of a grand plan to match an 8,500-square-foot South Fork mansion, the homeowners had said.

A Calverton man is no longer facing criminal charges for allegedly building an illegal tower out of the top of his Founders Path house, after he was found to be unable to defend himself in court Tuesday due to mental illness and is being sent to a psychiatric facility.

Eugene Lafurno, 58, had been arrested April 5 on an active warrant issued last October, officials said.

Town officials say the half-finished tower Mr. Lafurno built may exceed the town’s height limit for houses and was built without a valid building permit.

He was arrested by town police after he refused to answer to the alleged code violations in Town Justice Court.

Mr. Lafurno was found to be “not competent to assist in his defense,” town court officials said. He was remanded to a Suffolk County Department of Health psychiatric facility, officials said.

COURTESY PHOTO | The Calverton home is being modeled after this Remsenburg property currently on the market for $11.5 million.
COURTESY PHOTO | The Calverton home is being modeled after this South Fork estate on the market for $11.5 million.

In an interview in March, Mr. Lafurno — who has lived in Calverton for the past 20 years — said he was modeling his house after a five-bedroom, 8,500-square-foot mansion he once saw in Remsenburg.

The tower is currently topped with exposed wooden beams and tarps; the tower was supposed to be the centerpiece of the home, Mr. Lafurno said.

He said he was trying match his home, which he called “The Epiphany,” to the mansion, which is currently on the market in Remsenberg for $11.5 million. He would then sell it at a hefty profit, he had said.

In a rambling conversation that touched on ancient Egyptian deities and Jesus’ crucifixion, he claimed officials and neighbors were engaging in a conspiracy seeking to trample his dreams and also accused the Riverhead Police Department of “abducting” him, injecting him with drugs, and throwing him into a psychiatric facility.

Riverhead Town officials had begun civil action against the couple for the alleged violations in March.

It was not clear if the ruling in court Tuesday would affect the town’s civil case.

The tower that was built out of the house didn’t match the plans submitted to the town, said town attorney Robert Kozakiewicz, adding the permits issued for Mr. Lafurno’s proposed project had also since expired.

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