It’s a new kind of NIMBY.
A group of Long Island pols is calling on the federal government to expel diplomats from a posh Glen Cove estate that has for years been rumored to be a hive of Russian espionage.
The New York Post is reporting Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Rep. Lee Zeldin made the demand from outside the gates of Killenworth, the palatial 36-acre manor that was built for George Dupont Pratt in 1912 and was subsequently purchased by the Soviets to be used by its delegates to the United Nations. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian delegates have been housed there. It has long drawn the ire of Nassau County pols who have repeatedly demanded the foreign government pay taxes on the property, which it does not.
But Blakeman, a Republican who the newspaper reports is the grandson of Ukrainian immigrants and who made the announcement while surrounded by Ukrainian Americans, some draped in the country’s flag, said it’s time all that comes to an end.
“President Biden, expel these Russians from Nassau County,” he said. “We don’t need them here, and let’s get this property back on the tax rolls, so the people of Nassau County and Glen Cove don’t have to finance thugs and dictators and people who invade innocent countries.”
A U.S. State Department official made told Newsday that the nearly 27,000-square-foot mansion would be difficult to empty because it is considered a United Nations mission and is outside federal jurisdiction.
Zeldin claimed it could be done.
“There’s a lot of precedent for expelling diplomats to the United Nations. It’s done with other countries,” Zeldin said. “The President absolutely would have the power to expel any diplomat that we want to and need to from the United States of America.”
The United States did boot Russia from another Long Island compound back in 2016, according to the report. The Norwich House, a 36-room mansion in Upper Brookville that was purchased by the Soviet Union in 1952, was shuttered by President Obama as retaliation for Russia interfering in the 2016 election, according to the Post.
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev famously stayed at Killenworth during 1960 visit to the UN, a move that resulted in locals protesting outside the estate.
According to Newsday, the Glen Cove Police Department has added extra patrols around the compound as a precautionary measure.
[New York Post] — Vince DiMiceli