Ownership Claim Made On Morpurgo House, Muddying Village Plans To Demo - 27 East

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Ownership Claim Made On Morpurgo House, Muddying Village Plans To Demo

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author on Aug 21, 2016

The fate of 6 Union Street in Sag Harbor, otherwise known as the Morpurgo House, was thought to be secure when it was sold in June at auction. But just before the prospective owners were about to close the deal, a claim was made toward ownership of the 210-year-old home.

Charlotte Lisi of Dix Hills filed the claim on July 18, stating that she has an interest in the property's title because she paid $100,000 in March 2012 and May 2014 for a stake in it. The claim alleges that she was not notified of the foreclosure auction or paid back after the sale, according to court documents.

According to the filing, Ms. Lisi does not wish to part with ownership interest, especially without just and proper compensation."

This week, she said in an interview that she believes she was the victim of a scam and that she had invested in the home because she wanted to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast as a source of income. She gave the money to Tyche Fortune LLC, she said, and the money was put into an escrow account.

Court documents list Captain Hulbert House LLC, Tyche Fortune LLC, Michael Ahearn, Atlantic View Holdings LLC, Blue Acre Holdings LLC, and Joel Zweig, who represents both holdings groups, as defendants.

Mr. Zweig, on behalf of Atlantic View and Blue Acre, denied the allegation in a response filed on July 28.

Sag Harbor Village Building Inspector Thomas Preiato said at an August 9 Village Board meeting that he met with the home's recent buyers and it is still their intention to renovate the existing, decrepit structure as much as they can. They have not yet closed on the sale, however.

The house was sold at auction on June 24 for $1.325 million to Mitch Winston, who said he and his two partners in buying the home plan to restore what they can of the facade.

Mark Egerman, a Beverly Hills-based attorney and one of Mr. Winston's partners, confirmed that Ms. Lisi's claim was filed only one day before they were due to close on the home. The claim prevents them from getting a clear title, he explained.

A motion to terminate the claim, known as a lis pendens, was scheduled to be heard on Wednesday, August 24.

"We hope that will end the matter infosar as we are concerned and we can proceed to close the transaction and move ahead," Mr. Egerman said.

The structure is now behind a 3-foot-high plastic safety fence, and the prospective owners intend put a chain link fence around the home, according to Mr. Preiato.

Mr. Preiato had previously recommended to the Village Board that the home be torn down, citing safety concerns.

Demolition is still the village's goal, which the village mayor made clear at the board's August 9 meeting. When Deputy Mayor Robby Stein asked if officials still planned to condemn the Morpurgo House, Mayor Sandra Schroeder replied, "Our action is going to be to knock the damn place down."

Village Attorney David J. Gilmartin Jr. said Ms. Lisi's claim presents an added challenge because the property owners have to be notified of a plan to knock down the crumbling structure, which is currently uninhabited and closed off due to safety concerns.

"Once we're able to ascertain the ownership rights, then we can really move forward confidently with our actions," Mr. Gilmartin said.

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