Trustee on former mayor: Happy Birthday — or drop dead?

Former Greenport Village Mayor Dave Kapell, left, and Trustee Julia Robins.
Former Greenport Village Mayor Dave Kapell, left, and Trustee Julia Robins.

The son of former Greenport Village Mayor Dave Kapell is accusing a trustee of making a crass remark about his father.

During the public portion of Thursday’s Village Board meeting, Mr. Kapell’s son, Matthew, said he was in Village Hall March 27 and overheard Trustee Julia Robins and village clerk Sylvia Pirillo discussing village birth and death records.

As he was visiting building inspector Eileen Wingate nearby, Matthew Kapell said he heard someone ask:

“Why isn’t Dave Kapell on here?”

“It is well known that my father was not born here, nor is he dead,” Matthew Kapell told the Village Board. “The only conclusion one can draw is that the reference was to a death certificate and that remark was gratuitous, malicious and threatening.”

Ms. Robins admitted she asked the question, but claimed the remark was in reference to village birth — not death — records.

“I was looking over clerk Pirillo’s shoulder as she was looking at the birth records and I was commenting on the fact that there were a number of notable names — people who were recognized throughout the history of Greenport — and I made the comment ‘Is Dave Kapell’s name on there?’ ” she said.

“I made it as a compliment,” Ms. Robins continued, “because Dave Kapell has been a force in this village for good and I’ve respected him since I moved to the village.”

After Ms. Robins gave her explanation, Matthew Kapell claimed Ms. Robins told Ms. Pirillo that if Ms. Wingate “throws me under the bus, she will never get a raise.”

Ms. Robins and Ms. Pirillo denied the allegation.

Later during the meeting, the Village Board approved increasing Ms. Wingate’s salary from $25.52 to $28.85 per hour in a 4-0-1 vote, with Trustee Mary Bess Phillips abstaining.

Dave Kapell didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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Matthew Kapell speaking at last night's meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)
Matthew Kapell speaking at last night’s meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)