October 26, 2011 —
The Culligans, who live on Route 42 across the street from the Monticello Motor Club, are not shy about letting anyone know that they do not appreciate the noise from the motors on some of the beefy cars that traverse the winding roads of the club.
So, like several of their neighbors, they put up a sign on their lawn that reads “Stop the noise.” That first one, which was stuck in the ground, was stolen. And so was the one that followed.
On October 11, they strung a plastic sign, approximately 10-foot long, between two trees. Jim Culligan said, “I didn’t want to take a chance that the sign would be stolen again.”
The reaction from the Town of Thompson, which has been a strong supporter of the motor club, was not enthusiastic. Jim said, “A gentleman drove up in a town truck and took a picture and said, ‘You have to take the sign down.’”
The gentleman was code enforcement officer and deputy building inspector Tom Belgiovene.
The couple reviewed the code and couldn’t find anything relating to their sign. Still, Belgiovene said they had to remove it. A few days later, however, when Jim talked to him again, Belgiovone said that they did not have to remove the sign, but that deputy town attorney Paula Kay was going to investigate the matter.
Then after more time passed, Belgiovone called the couple and said that plans had changed and now town attorney Michael Mednick was going to look into the matter. Belgiavone told them they might be breaking a state law.
As Jim was relating the story to this reporter at the Sullivan County Government Center on October 20, his wife Ann broke in and said, “They’re harassing us.”
A call to the town building department seeking comment was not returned in time for publication.