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Board split on funding Woodson’s lawsuit against Riverhead Town

In a split vote, the Riverhead Town Board rejected a resolution to pay for a law firm to represent Highway Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson, who has threatened to sue the town for requiring his department to plow some private roads.

The vote was two in favor and three opposed.

“It’s silly,” Supervisor Sean Walter said afterward. “Why would we hire a lawyer so he can sue us?”

Councilmen Jim Wooten and Tim Hubbard also opposed the resolution.

Council members Jodi Giglio and John Dunleavy supported it.

“He has a right to sue us if he wants to, and if it’s in his budget,” Mr. Dunleavy said afterward. “I think the supervisor did the wrong thing by stating the private roads had been used by the public for 10 years. He has the right to sue him and let a judge decide.”

Mr. Woodson has requested that the law firm of Bee Ready Fishbein Hatter and Donovan LLP be retained to appear to defend him or appear on his behalf in the matter of a resolution passed Sept. 6, 2017, accepting the roads in Oak Hills into the town highway system.

• Related story — Woodson: ‘I’m not spending taxpayer money on private roads’

After the Town Board agreed to provide snow plowing and cold patch service to a number of private roads the public has used for at least 10 years, members of the Oak Hills Association sued the town in September 2016, claiming they are entitled to all highway services. When the board voted to approve last month’s resolution to service the Oak Hills roads, Mr. Woodson objected, saying he wouldn’t do anything more than snow plowing and cold patching for the Oak Hill roads, and later said he was considering a lawsuit. No lawsuit or notice of claim has yet been filed, officials said.

Mr. Woodson could not immediately be reached for comment.

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