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Dec 3, 2014 10:04 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

VFW Sells Longtime Quogue Post, Buys New Home In Westhampton Beach

Dec 3, 2014 11:04 AM

The leaders of Quogue Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5350 have sold their longtime home and headquarters and are moving to Westhampton Beach, a deal that essentially closes the books on attempts to prevent the lot that sits in the heart of Quogue Village from falling into private hands.

William Hughes, commander of the post, confirmed this week that the 4.4-acre property at 125 Montauk Highway in Quogue was sold for $1.4 million to the 125 Montauk Highway Group LLC late last month. The land was previously listed for $1.8 million.

In turn, the nonprofit—which will keep both its Post 5350 charter and name—purchased the property and building at 101 Old Riverhead Road in Westhampton Beach, the old Finn McCool’s restaurant, for $1.38 million, according to Mr. Hughes.

“You have to remember that those numbers aren’t straight up,” Mr. Hughes said, explaining that his group’s new home comes with a slew of problems left behind by its previous owner, listed as EK Riverhead Partners LLC, that must be addressed by the VFW. The building, Mr. Hughes explained, is in disrepair and had multiple renovations—some completed, some abandoned—that did not have the proper permits secured from Westhampton Beach Village.

EK Riverhead Partners, which has its offices listed on West 29th Street in New York City, does not have contact information listed, and a representative from the group could not be reached this week.

Mr. Hughes said he is hopeful that the VFW’s new location will draw more interest from members of the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing, who are based at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton and just up the road from his group’s new headquarters. Membership in the Quogue outfit has dwindled to about 125 members, mostly veterans from Vietnam and earlier wars.

Mr. Hughes said he has had informal conversations with members of the ANG about the possibility of joining Post 5350 and believes that there will be a handful of younger veterans interested in signing up.

Post members will not be able to move into their new facility right away, however, due to the need for extensive renovations. Mr. Hughes said he was hoping to sell the property in Quogue at a higher price and, therefore, must now raise about $100,000 to remodel their future headquarters.

To help raise money for the renovations, the post started a GoFundMe campaign, which has received more than $5,000 so far. Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/hta6i4 or by mailing checks to VFW Post 5350, P.O. Box 79, Quogue, NY, 11959.

Members are also planning a handful of fundraisers next year, including a Valentine’s Day event, a spring outing at the Boardy Barn in Hampton Bays and the group’s annual golf tournament.

For Mr. Hughes, the effort is not just about the money. He said the fundraising goals will cover only what’s necessary to get the Westhampton Beach facility up and running, and then the post can again focus on its main goals.

“It’s about having a great place for old veterans and new veterans, and to continue serving those veterans and the youth in the community. That is our mission,” he said.

Post members originally listed their Quogue property, which is zoned for residential use, for $1.8 million earlier this year. Some locals tried to lobby both Quogue Village and Southampton Town to join forces and purchase the land, which includes a clubhouse, a covered picnic area and a baseball field.

But after a handful of meetings with village and town officials went nowhere, Mr. Hughes began looking elsewhere.

“It’s a shame,” Mr. Hughes said this week. “They let this one go at a bargain price.”

Quogue Mayor Peter Sartorius and Mary Wilson, the manager of the town’s Community Preservation Fund, toured the property this past spring, with the town later making an offer that was rejected by the post. Both Ms. Wilson and Mr. Hughes have refused to disclose the amount of the offer made by the town. Quogue Village never made an offer for the property.

The future of the land remains unclear. Mr. Hughes said the man representing 125 Montauk Highway Group LLC in the purchase will be out of the country for the next three weeks due to a family emergency. Mr. Hughes would not disclose the individual’s name, and representatives of the LLC could not be reached for comment this week.

Over the summer, Quogue residents made more than a dozen suggestions about what could be done with the Montauk Highway property, which, if developed, could accommodate up to three single-family homes. VFW officials had secured a special exemption permit from the village in order to build their headquarters there.

More than 100 people gathered inside the Quogue Community Theater in June to discuss the proposal. Ideas shot down by the village included configuring the property for a baseball field, making it a playground, constructing tennis courts or building a community center on the land. Residents argued, in vain, that Quogue’s purchase of the land would allow the village to decide its future rather than a private developer.

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Sounds like an association of private individuals should have consulted you on permissible ideas on how they should spend their time and money.
By Paramarine (28), Raleigh, NC on Dec 3, 14 10:16 PM
2 members liked this comment
Cupsogue you have NO CLUE as to what you are talking about. You also don't have an ounce of respect for veterans. The guys you say just sit around and drink fought wars that gave you the right to be here in America. What the hell is wrong with you. VFW halls provide many services to the community such as hosting blood drives,food drives and coordinating help for soldiers returning from the wars we fight today. You should reconsider your thoughts in the future before posting such an uneducated and ...more
By unjustifiedjustice2 (35), Hampton bays on Dec 4, 14 3:45 PM
3 members liked this comment
I second "unjustified" response. cupsogue you have no right whatsoever to criticize those men. that is a disgusting an un American comment. you should be damn shamed of yourself.

After what those guys who "sit around and drink" have done for us and our freedoms they sure in the hell have a right to sit around and drink if they so choose to. Be appreciative and respectful of that if nothing else.

you should go down to the vfw and thank each and every one of them in person for ...more
By bmr80 (35), east quogue on Dec 4, 14 5:11 PM
Thank you for your service, and I do recind some of my original comment directed at you. However it shocks me that having served yourself you have the nerve to make a statement towards other veterans. The fact they bought a resturant is irrelevant. The fact that they moved next to a base is irrelevant. If members of the national guard want to drink there are tons of places in westhampton to do so. Should they close also? Also, by the vfw purchasing the old resturant, they will do necessary repairs ...more
By unjustifiedjustice2 (35), Hampton bays on Dec 5, 14 12:17 PM
If I posted what I felt it would get deleted. At one point you claim to be currently stationed at Ft. Bragg. Other posts from you claim that you are a village resident. You then state that you "served yourself" past tense yours.
You made a dumb statement, that another vet would never make then tried to backtrack on it.
Go away.You are a wannabee
that likely never wore a uniform.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 5, 14 1:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
That makes no sense. So your view is that every vfw and resturant that serves should be shut down? Close the gas stations that serve a 40. Pull Applebee's liquor license! Is there a secret epidemic of drunken veterans that get wild and drive home drunk? Working in uniform myself, I can assure there is not an influx of veterans driving home drunk. good thing you are retiring, you can stay in NC and watch out for these wild drunk veterans that don't exist.
By unjustifiedjustice2 (35), Hampton bays on Dec 6, 14 7:38 AM

Take some time educating your self on what actually goes on before throwing around your unrealistic and uneducated comments. One day you may need services provided by a vfw.
By unjustifiedjustice2 (35), Hampton bays on Dec 6, 14 7:44 AM
you have NO credibility with me. Nothing in your writings indicate any sort of military background whatsoever. Are you currently stationed at Ft Bragg as you state, or do you live in WHB Village as you also state? Are you going to retire down south or do you already live there? The VFW bought Finns to renovate, which is clear and you allege they are going to tear it down and build a bar. I have never met a vet that would say anything to discredit the lifestyles of WWII vets, and you ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 6, 14 1:13 PM
Cupsogue ,strange handle. Do you also support ISIS???? I think those Veterns EARNED the right to sit around and drink. Tell me what gives you the right to to say the things you do. Don't know. Ask a Vet...
By unclemilt (57), southampton on Dec 6, 14 9:52 PM
As a Vietnam veteran who has abundant respect for the work of the VFW, I still have to say I'm puzzled by the numbers here. If the Post sold the Quogue property for $1.4 million and purchased the WHB property for $1.38 million, they're $200,000 ahead, so why do they have to go to the community to raise $100,000 for repairs? Seems they should have it.

More fundamentally, this whole deal seems wrong. The VFW sold 4.4 residential acres in Quogue and bought a commercial parcel in WHB that ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 7, 14 1:30 PM
A closing in NYS is not like in other states like PA. In place like PA, you don't have to cut untold thousands of dollars worth of checks to all the players involved.

Closing costs were easily 30k on a sale of that value, and then there's the commission and other related costs. It can get real expensive, real quick.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 7, 14 2:05 PM
It's worse than that. $1,400,000 vs. 1,380,000 leaves $20,000 gross, before associated expenses. The building needs extensive renovation and some of the work done by the emperor of barbecue may not have been done to code.

Some members of the post are quite unhappy with the decision made by Hughes rather than a committee.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 7, 14 3:08 PM
If I were a member of the Town Democrats, I'd call for an audit after that one, TB.
Really VOS? So the committee didn't meet every step of the way? All decisions weren't made with everyone involved? Like a rug.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 7, 14 5:54 PM
A member of the post says the executive committee (trustees, officers, whatever they're called) allowed, at his request, Hughes to make all decisions regarding the WHB property to the extent of not having an engineers survey done as Hughes said he personally checked out the building. This is what is often characterized as a "usually reliable source."

I don't have a dog in this fight but was curious about what, on its face, looks like a costly series of transactions for the VFW. Tell us ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 7, 14 10:20 PM
Either you or your source is lying like a rug, VOS. And you're right, you don't have a dog in this fight the members do. Except for guys like TB, who has issues with 3rd grade math, and won't miss an opportunity to attack a Republican. One might think his efforts wod be better spent joining the VFW and offering his assistance.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 8, 14 9:08 AM
Accusing people with no motive of lying is immature at best, especially when you provide not a scintilla of support for your claim. If you have something concrete, put it out there. It would really be nice to see comments directed at the article they address rather than childish irrelevant sniping at other posters.

I would also note that Mr. Bridge made no reference to a political party but you certainly have, as usual. You diehard partisans cannot pass up an opportunity to take a shot, ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 8, 14 1:04 PM
Because when people claim to be vets, and they clearly are not, I don't like it.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 8, 14 10:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
What you apparently don't realize is that Turkey Bridge is the treasurer of the Town Democratic Party. He threw the first volley with his bad math and innuendoes. Your claims are suspect at best , as I know quite well most of the players. cup dogie continues to claim vet status, when it is clear from his postings he is not a vet.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 8, 14 1:18 PM
And maybe you can quit posing and post like you completed at least a minimal English writing course.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 8, 14 6:30 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Tommy Turbo (60), Deep River, CT on Dec 8, 14 8:31 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Jperry (1), East quogue on Dec 8, 14 8:31 PM
Honestly! I really don't know enough about the situation- but after living out here full time for 25 years and raising a family, Is it possible for to you to understand that the new location makes it more accessible (current location is much more remote) for more veterans to be able to attend in a more densely populated area.

I'm 50+ years old and I have never had the honor to serve our nation in any respect- but I'm the proudest American patriot you'll ever meet. I probably would ...more
By Jperry (1), East quogue on Dec 8, 14 9:01 PM
And you still want us to believe you are an active duty officer? Good grief.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 9, 14 9:33 AM
Cupsogue why are you so worried about what the VFW does. The VFW members served their country, and constantly give back to their members, and community. What better group could possibly fill the empty restaurant space in WHB?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 9, 14 10:08 AM
Sorry for the arithmetic error, folks. I'm no more of a math expert than a real estate expert, but as VOS noted, the fact that the VFW is only $20,000 rather than $200,000 in the black, makes this an even worse deal for them than I first thought.

Blank, you suggest that I join the VFW myself. I'm proud to be a vet and eligible to join the VFW, and have the highest regard for them as an organization,but I've chosen to direct my community efforts in other paths. My business, of course, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 9, 14 1:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
SorryTB, you took a shot at Bill solely for political purposes and like it or not, your posts are read as though you speak for the party. That's the burden of your position. VOS apparently wasn't aware of your position so I merely pointed out the reason for the political cheap shot.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 9, 14 2:38 PM
Actually, Blank, I'm aware from ongoing discussions here that Bridge is or was involved in local politics. Your constant involvement here leads me to believe you too are involved, possibly not in a committee position but very partisan in your views. This is really totally irrelevant to the VFW discussion and it is another example of how certain partisans insert their biases into unrelated discussions.

You both do understand that just such behavior on the part of the politically connected ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 10, 14 1:21 AM
VOS, in your post of Dec 7 you questioned why a political party was added to the mix. I was not aware that you knew of TBs position, as he threw the first stone with the quip directed to Mr. Hughes abilities.
I was at one time active, no longer, I am convinced that players on both sides are only out for themselves. You don't see me grandstanding for any candidate or political philosophy, but I will call out either side for what I see as unaddressed inaccuracies.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 10, 14 2:42 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 9, 14 7:21 PM
cupsogue is a perfect candidate for a stolen valor investigation. MP's or SF on military bases are the strictest you'll ever encounter. If you were active duty you would know that. On a last note, please go to Bill Hughes in person and tell him your true feelings about the VFW and let me know how you make out.
By politcal pawn (121), Flanders on Dec 13, 14 7:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
This entire story and every comment should be removed
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Dec 13, 14 7:47 PM