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Exclusive: Town Hires Private Eyes To Help Stave Off Village Incorporation, Residents Claim

GREENBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The push to create a new village in Westchester County has apparently taken a nasty turn.

Some homeowners say private detectives hired by the town of Greenburgh are going door-to-door trying to fool people into signing documents.

It's a sign of the times in the upscale Edgemont section of town, with some residents hoping to incorporate into a new village that controls its own planning, taxes, and zoning.

"People in Edgemont are just fed up," resident Clint Eller tells CBS2's Brian Conybeare.

Petitions were signed by more than 1,400 residents, but private investigators are now going door-to-door to get signatures thrown out.

Eliana Weissman's nanny cam caught her encounter with a private eye trying to get her to sign an affidavit that would have nullified her petition signature. The detective said they were there to "verify some information in regards to the incorporation commission."

"I really felt like she was catching me in a mistake," she said.

One of Weissman's neighbors actually signed it.

"I was tricked and I'm angry," Edgemont resident Calvin Chin said. "I'm a little embarrassed that I should've read the whole thing. But again, not knowing the whole process and not thinking the town would do something that devious to one of its own citizens."

CBS2 reports that the town of Greenburgh stands to lose $17 million a year in tax revenue if Edgemont becomes its own village. That has some people at town hall very worried.

"They are not going to save anything," Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said. "This is definitely going to cost more and it's going to result in less services."

Feiner is a vocal opponent and he has the power to accept or reject the petitions. He admits the town's lawyer hired the private investigators.

"They're not being tricked and if anybody was tricked, if it turns out those people say they were trucked, we're not going to use any of those affidavits," he said.

If the signatures are upheld, a referendum on the new village could happen this summer. A public hearing on the Edgemont incorporation plan is set for this Wednesday night.

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