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Staten Island Borough Prez. Sued Over 'Spiteful' Street Names

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The development company Savo Brothers has filed a lawsuit against Staten Island Borough President James Oddo over a series of "spiteful" street names slated for a new townhouse complex on Fingerboard Road.

Oddo, who has openly spoken out against the townhouse project, chose street names like Avidity Place, Fourberie Lane, and Cupidity Drive -- words with a common, yet subtly damaging, theme, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

"When you look at it you see cupid in it, but it's not cupid, it's not love," one resident said. "It means something else," Charlotte Mentzer, of Staten Island, said.

Cupidity is an excessive desire for money. Fourberie means "deception," and avidity is another word for "greed."

"I think there was an intention and a spitefulness that we felt inappropriate and that violated the spirit of the court's order and clearly was an abuse of the borough president's discretion," said Richard Leland, attorney for Savos Brothers.

Oddo has been a very vocal opponent of the residential complex, siding with residents who wanted to save the land, which was originally the Manresa Jesuit Retreat -- a landmark that stood on the grounds for more than one hundred years.

"This was a beautiful place -- 103 years old," Carolina Labita, of Staten Island, said. "Look at it. It's an abandoned hill now -- just for money and greed on Staten Island."

Rose and Bob Braisted have lived across the street from the property for 40 years and believe the street names are appropriate.

"Maybe they tell a story of what happened here," Rose Braisted said.

"Money talks and that's the bottom line," Bob Braisted said.

The Savo Brothers can't receive building permits until they have street names approved, so the fate of the construction sight remains unknown until the judge makes a decision.

The city law department said the borough president has done nothing wrong.

Oddo couldn't comment on the suit because the judge hasn't ruled on the case.

Residents have formed a group and are raising money in hopes of saving the property from residential development.

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