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Jun 6, 2018 11:46 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Former Poxabogue Golf Center Manager Files Complaint Against Southampton Town Officials

Jun 12, 2018 1:24 PM

The former manager of the Southampton Town-owned Poxabogue Golf Center in Sagaponack, who was arrested in 2015 and accused of snapping an inappropriate photo that summer of a 16-year-old girl from behind what has been described as a “one-way window” in his office—and later acquitted of all criminal charges—filed a $5 million complaint against several town officials, accusing them of conspiring against him.

The 36-page complaint, filed in the Eastern District court on May 30 by Patricia M. Meisenheimer, an Islandia-based attorney representing Steven Lee of Ronkonkoma, targets Southampton Town Police Sergeant William Kiernan, Town Management Administrator Russell Kratoville and former Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato for their role in Mr. Lee’s arrest.

The complaint also names Eric Schultzel and Rob Corcoran, two golf instructors who had worked for Mr. Lee at the town-owned golf course, accusing them of giving false and misleading information to police.

Mr. Schultzel and Mr. Corcoran could not be immediately reached for comment.

Southampton Town Police charged Mr. Lee in October 2015 with second-degree unlawful surveillance, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. Police said he used his cellphone to take an “upskirt” photo in late July as the girl sat on a bench outside a one-way clubhouse window. Three employees reported to police that they had viewed the image.

Nearly two years later, Mr. Lee was acquitted by a Suffolk County jury.

When Mr. Lee was charged in 2015, he had been working as a PGA Golf professional for 26 years. The complaint notes that the charges ruined his career.

“As of October 2015, Lee had been a PGA golf pro for 26 years and had done that work and none other since his graduation from college,” the complaint reads. “The actions of the town, the Police Department and Kiernan in October 2015 took away and ended Lee’s livelihood and profession by falsely arresting him, falsely accusing him, falsely testifying about him, terminating the lease agreement with Lee Inc., and by creating and promulgating press releases that magnified and perpetuated the false charges against Lee.”

On Tuesday night, Southampton Town Attorney James Burke said the town has hired an outside counsel from Devitt Spellman Barrett to challenge the complaint. “We felt that there was probable cause for him to be arrested,” Mr. Burke said.

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