The End Of Killenworth?


Russian-owned property in Glen Cove may be shuttered

A Glen Cove mansion became the center of attention last week after President Barack Obama announced the closing of Russian compounds as punishment for alleged interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. Killenworth, a 49-room house off Dosoris Lane, is the former home of George duPont Pratt and was purchased in 1951 by the Russian government. The mansion has been used for decades as a vacation retreat by Russian diplomats.

Numerous media outlets reported late last week that the estate, which is mainly inhabited by Russian caretakers, would be shut down by noon on Friday. However, at that time it was unclear whether the property in question was Killenworth or another Russian-owned property, the Norwich House on Mill River Road in Upper Brookville, which eventually was ordered vacated by the State Department on Friday, according to Upper Brookville Mayor Elliot Conway. As for Killenworth, since it is a private property, Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello said there was no way of confirming how many occupants the estate has, other than a few caretakers.

Killenworth was built in 1912 by Charles Pratt, who lived in what is now the Glen Cove Mansion across the street. The Pratts built other mansions for their children, including what is now Glengariff Healthcare Center, next door at 141 Dosoris Lane.

In 1982, Reagan administration officials said Russians were using the mansion to conduct electronic surveillance of Long Island’s defense and technology industries. In response, the Glen Cove City Council banned the Russians from obtaining free beach parking stickers and discounted tennis permits, which was lifted two years later. Since then, they have seemed to be relatively quiet neighbors.

“Each year representatives of the compound visit the mayor’s office to offer their holiday greetings,” said Spinello. “While I haven’t had any formal interaction with the diplomats in years past, former mayors and their staff have had meetings.”

The mayor said that the Killenworth Estate received landmark status on March 22, 1983. Property owners will have the final decision as to what to do with the property.

“According the our last tax assessment, the fair market value of the estate is estimated to be over $17 million,” said Spinello. “We believe it may have been purchased for $75,000, though we are still looking for the paperwork from the 1950s.”

In addition to closing the Long Island compound, Obama administration officials ordered the closing of a similar waterfront retreat in Maryland and called for the expulsion of 35 Russian officials, who were reportedly working undercover as spies, according to published reports. The announcement was made after accusations that Russia interfered with the election by hacking the emails of Hillary Clinton staffers, which were leaked prior to the November election.

President-Elect Donald J. Trump has dismissed claims that Russia is to blame for the hacking.

“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” Trump said in a statement. “Nevertheless, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.”

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