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Oddo Spells REVENGE by Picking Mt. Manresa Street Names Inspired by 'Greed'

By Nicholas Rizzi | December 16, 2015 11:34am
 Borough President James Oddo's creative suggestions for street names at the Mt. Manresa development were inspired by greed and trickery.
Borough President James Oddo's creative suggestions for street names at the Mt. Manresa development were inspired by greed and trickery.
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Loretta Drogon

STATEN ISLAND — How does James Oddo spell revenge?

"C-U-P-I-D-I-T-Y."

In a move likely to win nods from Scrabble enthusiasts citywide, the Staten Island borough president has crafted creative street names for the new neighborhood set to rise on the controversial Mount Manresa site.

If Oddo — who has the power to assign street names and numbers in new developments — wins out over Savo Brothers developers, homebuyers will live on Cupidity Drive, meaning inordinate desire for wealth, Fourberie Lane, defined as trickery and deception, and Avidity Place, which is derived from avidita, meaning greed.

 The developers of the controversial development on Mount Manresa are taking Borough President James Oddo back to court after he assigned them street names that mean
The developers of the controversial development on Mount Manresa are taking Borough President James Oddo back to court after he assigned them street names that mean "greedy" and "deception."
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Mount Builders v. James Oddo

A judge ordered Oddo to give the streets names after Savo Brothers won a fiercely fought battle to tear down the 103-year-old Jesuit retreat house Mount Manresa and replace it with homes. 

The contractor will be back in court Thursday to try to force Oddo to provide more pleasing street addresses. The builders have suggested: Pearl View Lane, Silver Bridge Drive, Lamb Run, Lazy Bird Lane, Amber Heights Drive, Rabbit Ridge Road, Willow Reach Lane and Turtle Drive.

Oddo said these names have "deficiencies."

He also rejected the developers' preferred Timber Lane —  which he said was intended to be a direct snub to neighbors outraged by the felling of 400-year-old trees to make way for the new homes.

"That’s right, 'Timber' Lane, as in the word of warning that is popularly known to be yelled out to warn folks that a tree is being cut down," Oddo wrote on his Facebook page.

"This was a clear attempt to stick it to the community once again by reminding them every day of what they did to the property.

"This, after they thumbed their nose at the Staten Island community, pillaged the property by cutting down numerous trees, and ravaged the hillside."

Oddo had tried to delay issuing new names until after an investigation into the controversial construction was complete. That inquiry began when two former asbestos inspectors were accused of lying about the presence of the potentially deadly material at the site.

The Savo Brothers are not amused by Oddo's wordplay. 

"It's my client's position that the borough president's action violated the spirit, if not the letter, of Justice [Philip] Minardo's order," said Richard Leland, lawyer for the Savo Brothers, who bought the property for $15 million in 2013.

"He acted in a vengeful and spiteful manner, which ill behooves a borough president in the city of New York."

Oddo said he came up with the street names based on a belief that the developers were mocking people who had fought against their plans with the quaint addresses they had originally suggested.  

The developers can't receive Department of Building permits to move forward with the construction until they have street names and numbers.

"The Borough President complied with the recent court order to issue the street numbers and has the authority to assign the street names," a spokesman for the city's Law Department said.

Oddo and the developers are scheduled to go back to court Thursday morning.