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Surf Lodge Attorney Seeks To Dismiss Violations

Publication: The East Hampton Press
By Rohma Abbas   Apr 24, 2012 4:24 PM
Apr 24, 2012 6:11 PM

Thomas Horn, the Sag Harbor attorney representing the Surf Lodge, a popular bar and nightclub in Montauk, is seeking to dismiss a number of the nearly 700 East Hampton Town Code violations against the business for its operations last year.

Mr. Horn, who was recently hired to represent the business, filed a motion on April 16 in East Hampton Town Justice Court seeking to dismiss violations based on New York State and town law.

Mr. Horn cites both laws in his motion to dismiss. In one example, Mr. Horn notes that East Hampton Town Code states that, “each week’s continued violation shall constitute a separate violation.” In a spreadsheet of violations attached to the motion, Mr. Horn points out that the Surf Lodge was issued violations multiple times a week, and that some of those should be dropped accordingly. He also stated that in some cases, the Surf Lodge wasn’t notified of a violation before another violation was issued.

“On multiple occasions, the code enforcement officials did cite the defendant more than once a week and additionally did cite as separate violations in new weekly time frames of violations without waiting for notifications to be effective,” Mr. Horn stated in the motion.

When asked how many violations he was looking to dismiss, Mr. Horn said, “I haven’t counted them.”

“I didn’t really consider it from that angle,” he said. “I looked at it strictly from which ones failed to pass muster.”

Both representatives of the town and the Surf Lodge appear to be working toward a settlement. In October, Assistant Town Attorney Robert Connelly said he offered the business a $100,000 settlement—pleading guilty to 200 violations at $500 a piece— but that proposal went nowhere.

Right now, settlement talks are “stalled” Mr. Connelly said because of Mr. Horn’s motion. But Mr. Connelly said he plans to continue reaching out.

“I’ll keep talking to Mr. Horn and see if we can come to a resolution that’s acceptable to the town and the court and the defendant,” he said.

Mr. Horn said he’d be willing to consider settling on on a fraction of the alleged violations that are left standing after a decision on his motion to dismiss some of them is rendered.

“If they’re willing to settle for one-third of those left standing then of course we’d take it seriously,” Mr. Horn said.

The case was adjourned to May 14. That’s also the deadline for Mr. Connelly to file a submission in response to Mr. Horn’s motion.

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