Embroiled Denis Bay Property Owner Pays Fines; Mitigation Efforts Underway

The embroiled Denis Bay property - File photo
The embroiled Denis Bay property – File photo

The Denis Bay property owner accused of building on and altering National Park Service land has paid the fine imposed on him by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Mitigation efforts are also continuing on his property and on the adjoining land.

Tony Ingrao paid the $9,500 fine last week, according Bevan R. Smith, Jr., DPNR’s Director of Building Permits. The fine was due October 3.

As we reported last month, DPNR reduced Ingrao’s fine with regard to an earth change permit. At the time of our initial report, Jamal Nielsen, DPNR Media Relations Coordinator, indicated that “fines to Ingrao were reduced because he was charged for not having an Earth Change permit which he did obtain.” However, Smith clarified the reason for the fine reduction earlier this week.

“This adjustment was necessary because Mr. Ingrao was erroneously charged $1,500 for not obtaining an earth change permit,” Smith said. “It turned out the referenced earth change was done on NPS property, hence, he could not have legally obtained an earth change permit.”

DPNR officials met with Ingrao’s representative on September 20 in an effort to settle the notice of violation. In attendance was Bevan Smith, Phillip J. Smith, DPNR Unit Chief of Building Permits, and Nicole N. Turner, P.E. Chief Engineer of the Department of Public Works. Ingrao was not in attendance; his attorney Hank Feuerzeig attended in his absence.

Bevan R. Smith, Jr. said it was determined during that meeting that a certified boundary survey may was required by Denis Bay Properties LLC. He also said that the Department of Public Works was asked to issue a temporary relief to allow Ingrao to continue mitigation work on a portion of the roadway, which they did.

Mitigation efforts are underway, although they are not completed. The Division of Permits approved work on the upper turn, which will include the installation of sand bags, hay bales and silt screen in an effort to prevent runoff from spilling over to downstream properties. The Department of Public Works also granted a conditional permit to remove the gabion rock baskets that collapsed onto NPS property.

Collapsed gabion basket on NPS land - File photo
Collapsed gabion basket on NPS land – File photo

“Now that DPW issued a temporary relief of their stop work order, the property owner can continue to address the remediation and reconstruction of a portion of the roadway,” Bevin R. Smith, Jr. said. “This includes the construction of the retaining wall, as well as the drainage improvements and the paving of the roadway.  As such, the (Department of Building Permits) will review plans as the certifying agency and continue to conduct site inspection for the retaining wall construction.”

Tony Ingrao is a well-known interior designer based in New York City. News of St. John has contacted his office on numerous occasions, however our phone messages and emails have not been returned. We reached out to his attorney, Hank Feuerzeig, on Tuesday but did not receive a response.

Please click here to read our previous coverage on this topic.

15 thoughts on “Embroiled Denis Bay Property Owner Pays Fines; Mitigation Efforts Underway”

    • Its doesnt cause him any grief to pay the fine, he simply gets away with it. People will eventually move on and he’s home free. Disgusting.

  1. Unless Mr. Ingrao has imported all his workmen and equipment from off island all of this damage was done by local construction workers from local companies using local heavy equipment – shouldn’t they bear substantial responsibilty or is this the ” I was only following orders” defense.

  2. I hope a deranged pack of flea-bitten, mangy, aggressive donkeys take up residence at his house along with oodles of no-see-ums.

  3. Wow, get a life people. By the tone of some of these responses you would think a former SS officer has been discovered in Denis Bay. I know the rich gut villian is a fantasy just too tempting for many not to indulge, but with all the other real crimes and environmental carelessness that goes on in this island, the personal nature of these attacks seem just a little out of proportion.

    • Parker, are you insane? He took an excavator to a 200-foot-long swath of the VI National Park [among hundreds of other violations, see NoSJ’s other excellent posts on the matter]!! This is WAAAAAAY above “environmental carelessness” – this is an egomaniacal spoiled brat buying his way out of the law with high-priced, well connected attorneys.

  4. Agreed, there are plenty of other crimes, environmental and otherwise, but this is by far the biggest, most blatant and continuing illegal building case ever seen here. The list of violations on the house construction, even before the road and tree cutting part began, is almost endless. Combine that with the indescribable UGLINESS of the huge building, in the middle of one of the most beautiful places on the face of the globe, and yes, you get people really angry.

  5. Wha???? Gimme a break; have you been to this property? If you have, you know you must drive by a large make shift storage yard for a deteriorating fleet of seriously heavy equipment (backhoes, excavators, loaders, etc) along with several unpermitted structures – each with there own long list of code violations. All this in an area that’s not zoned industrial. It’s been that way for years, but alas where’s all the feigned outrage there?

    Oh yeah, because there are properties like that scattered all over this island. Just swap out the local’s old equipment and replace it with a rich New Yorker’s big house and now you’ve got the recipe for a story with legs. The use of double standard and personal attacks against a guy i trust very few of you have ever met are my problems with this discussion.

    I don’t mind people having an opinion about the violations at the big house (and to be clear I concede there were many); so long as those same people don’t have selective amnesia when it comes to other violators.

  6. Been to the property? Yes, many many times, before the egomanic’s ownership, during his reign, and recently. It’s an absolute mess, and the culmination of checking off essentially every single violation that could be done on a property [and on multiple other parties’ lands].

    Yes, there are some other ugly little structures on island which are unpermitted. Yes, some places store heavy equipment. Yes, some locals eek by with an unpermitted apartment downstairs or neglect to put up a silt fence. NOWHERE else on island is there such an outstanding collection of problems as the Denis Bay debacle, however… it’s got story count violations, it’s got lot coverage violations, over property lines, over setback lines, took out multiple neighbors’ trees, dug into multiple neighbors hillsides including the park, dumped remains of the old house down the hill into the park, redirected waterways, illegal parking and turnaround, illegal and dangerous construction practices, lied to government agencies on submittals, most likely paid of government officials for the C.O… and you’re asking why are we “picking on them”??

    This monstrosity is being made a public case because it IS the poster child for ugly, law-violating, unconcerned development, and I can only hope karma kicks in at some point with a rockslide from the VINP lands which takes out the whole mess. Given its crappy construction, it shouldn’t take much. Owner should be tied to a tree at that point and forced to pick the mess up, piece by piece by piece.

    And, for your last semi-question, I have met the egomaniac too, multiple times. I didn’t connect him with this house at first [it was already under construction and a total mess], but thought he was a total jerk then. Once all the dots connected, it made a lot more sense.

    I want to buy the privately-held piece of property below him [where he cut all the trees down and cut into the hillside] just to put up a 30-foot high mirror, both blocking his view of STT he schemed so hard to obtain, and to force him to look back at the exterior of his ugly house every time he looks out the window.

  7. Good input there, Parker. But I have one question. Are any of those unpermitted structures on which you are basing your argument built on public land? That’s the difference here.

    I have no doubt when Mr. Ingrao’s place is finished it will be very nice. But for him and his developers to just do as they please with no regard to the laws or public property all the while planning to simply buy their way out of it is inexcusable.

  8. Here’s the really sad part. A guy like this can make zillions of dollars because some people are so stupid (and rich) they can’t even decide where to hang pictures of their goofy looking children or what kind of furniture they like, so they hire a interior designer like “Tony the Weasel” to do their thinking for them. Pathetic.

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