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With Lawyer For Hightower Homes in Jail, Civic Pushes to Condemn

But the jailed attorney is slowing down the process.

Since the lawyer for the abandoned Hightower homes was sentenced to a 4 year prison term last year, the town has been hindered from taking action on the blighted property. It's a situation that has the local civic up in arms.

The Kings Park Civic Association sent a letter, dated Feb. 5, to the town asking them to take action on the property. In the letter, (see attached document in gallery) the KPCA, said "these partially constructed homes do not have a certificate of occupancy, do not meet current building codes, and have been sitting vacant for a number of years."

According to a report in Newsday, town attorney, John Zollo is looking into the town's options for razing the houses.

Frederic A. Powell, attorney for the property, was found guilty of committing bank and wire fraud and is serving time in a prison in Allentown, Pa., according to Newsday. Powell also pleaded guilty last year to attempted bribery of a Hempstead Town employee and mortgage fraud.

Patch reported in June on a town initiative to take a hard look at blighted property. The initiative, spearheaded by town councilmen Robert Creighton, Kevin Malloy and Ed Wehrheim, included a master list of nineteen properties, including the Hightower homes, that could be considered blighted in Smithtown.

Wehrheim, in a phone conversation, said that along with the town attorney, the builidng deparment is also looking at what options the town may have.

"We can't just go in an knock the houses down," said Wehrheim. "Our main concern is if it costs money. We have to see what avenues we have to be reimbursed."

To read the KPCA's letter, see the attached PDF in the photo gallery of this story.

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