Two years after Paul A. Rinfret was arrested in Manhasset for running a $19 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded six investors. Sentenced to 63 months in prison, his home on Bourndale Road North remains empty, overtaken by vines.
The “zombie house” was a subject at the Sept. 13 Plandome Heights Board of Trustees meeting. According to Mayor Kenneth C. Riscica, neighbors in the area are getting fed up with the abandoned property that had grass growing reportedly three-feet-tall before the village took the matter into its own hands.
“What makes it a zombie house is that his assets, as they’ve been recovered, will be used to pay back his victims,” Riscica said. “Some have reported that they’ve stripped the house bare, some have reported that it’s due for an inspection… but the most visible problem is that they don’t maintain the property.”
The neighbors find the property to be unsafe, Riscica said, attracting pests like mosquitoes.
“We’ve been reluctantly maintaining, cutting the lawn periodically,” Riscica said. “We have been having internal discussion about how we deal with this. Do we fine them? Who pays us?”
Riscica said the village has been issuing appearance tickets in order to issue a fine, and in the meantime will continue to cut the lawn.
“I mean we can keep issuing appearance tickets…to let him know we’re watching,”…