Bedford Hills Car Wash Lawsuit's Subpoenas Quashed

Splash Car Wash's former Bedford Hills site, now occupied by Russell Speeder's.
Splash Car Wash's former Bedford Hills site, now occupied by Russell Speeder's.
Subpoenas for two individuals in connection with a lawsuit involving Splash Car Wash and its former landlord have been quashed.

State Supreme Court Judge Joan Lefkowitz announced the decision Monday during an appearance of the parties. 

According to records, Splash, the plaintiff, sought testimony from Dino DeFeo, an opponent of its proposed new location at 562-570 North Bedford Road in Bedford Hills, along with his attorney, David Squirrell.

The car wash, which moved out of its previous nearby site at 527 North Bedford Road, is suing former landlord, Shullman Family Limited Partnership, along with family members Robert Shullman and Michael Shullman. Another defendant listed is fellow car wash Russell Speeder's, which has common ownership with its landlord and now occupies Splash's former site. In court records, allegations given about the defense include abusing the landlord position, and telling customers, and employees that Splash would be out of business. Splash also alleges that Squirrell was, in fact, backed by the defense. 

In a filing, Splash argues the following about Squirrell, "At no time has he ever denied that he was paid by the defendants. The failure to deny those allegations must be deemed an admission that he and his experts were paid by the defendants."

DeFeo, in a November affidavit to support a previous motion from Squirrell for quashing both subpoenas, outlined his opposition to Splash's proposed new car wash. DeFeo, a resident of nearby Valerio Court, cited noise, traffic and air quality as his concerns. He also recapped concerns he had with other businesses near his road. The subpoenas were served around Oct. 24, according to his affidavit. In the affidavit, DeFeo cites attorney-client privilege. 

Although the subpoenas were quashed, the judge did not rule out subpoena usage in the future, according to George Calcagnini, who is a lawyer for Splash. Both parties will have their next court appearance later this month.

DeFeo filed an Article 78 proceeding against the project, which is a separate court case. On Oct. 4, state Supreme Court Judge Barbara Zambelli ruled in his favor by overturning a use variance granted for the proposal that was granted by Bedford's Zoning Board of Appeals, according to records. In striking it down, Zambelli argued that the defense, Splash, failed to meet two burdens, which were supposed to be that a self-created hardship was not made, and that a "reasonable return" on the property could not be made.

Because Zambelli struck down the use variance, which was needed because part of the proposal's site has residential zoning while the rest has commercial, this also meant that other land-use approvals were vacated because they were linked to it, according to the decision. Zambelli, in her decision, disagreed with an argument from DeFeo that the environmental review was not done properly by the town's planning board.

The Article 78 case has since been appealed, according to records. 
Portia Torte January 07, 2014 at 07:04 PM
Both of these parties should settle this ugly fight before both of their brands and goodwill are ruined. Would the offended neighborhood prefer that another fast food restaurant go in at that location so that they can smell hamburgers from McDonalds, the vehicle fumes from the ultra busy highway they intentionally built houses near and another smelly commercial food establishment go in that location? At some point, it's almost like a taking of property under the 5th Amendment due to the restraint on building on that property.


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