After a three-day trial, a jury of six East Hampton Town residents found Clan-Fritz, Inc., the operators of Cyril’s Fish House, guilty of 45 of 47 misdemeanors relating to the illegal expansion of the Napeague business, according to a press release issued by the town Friday afternoon.
East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky will sentence the Clan-Fritz, Inc. on June 20.
According to the town, earlier this week, landlords of the Amagansett property — Michael Dioguardi, Robert Dioguardi and Debra Lakind — avoided a trial by entering into a Stipulation of Settlement with the town, which imposes strict limits on the use of the property, and agreed to a $60,000 fine.
“The Stipulation of Settlement with the owners of this property and the 45 convictions of the operator validate the Town’s commitment to enforce our public safety and zoning laws,” said Supervisor Larry Cantwell in a statement. “The incremental but vast expansion of this premises was illegal and posed a threat to the public safety. The changes required by the settlement—reinforced by today’s jury verdict—will vastly improve the conditions at the property and increase public safety by limiting the occupancy at this location.”
Terms of the settlement require that seating at the premises be limited to 62 seats: 26 interior seats and 36 exterior seats. The owners of the premises have also agreed that no more than 150 people will be present on the property at one time. All food and beverage consumption and service will be in designated areas contained either within the building or within a limited patio area. These conditions will be effective immediately.
In addition to the seating and maximum-occupancy covenants, structural changes must be made by May 26, 2016. These include changes to the building, such as the removal of an outdoor bar that attracted patrons to stand on the shoulder of Montauk Highway. Further, a patio area and storage containers will be removed, and fencing and vegetative screening will be installed, according to the town’s release.
The town’s press release stated that the corporate operator of the premises, Clan Fitz, Inc. — which runs the popular Cyril’s Fish House — refused to enter into the settlement and invoked its right to a jury trial, despite the fact that operations at the property are bound by the Stipulation of Settlement.
“The operators’ lack of cooperation will not impact the duties of the landlords to comply with the Stipulation,” stated Town Attorney Michael Sendlenksi. “The owners have assured us they will exhaust every legal avenue to make their tenant comply as the landlord faces significant penalties, including a $100 per-person fine for each and every person over the 150-person limit on the premises and a $100 fine for each table and chair over the allowed 62. In addition, this Stipulation of Settlement will be ‘So Ordered’ by the Court, so violating it will amount to Criminal Contempt of a Court order.”
The landlords have filed applications for site plan approval for the modification of the parking areas also required in the Stipulation. The public hearing on those modifications is tentatively set for July 13 in front of the town’s planning board. If approved, such changes must be implemented within 30 days.
“I want to commend the extraordinary and coordinated effort by Michael Sendlenski and NancyLynn Thiele of the Town Attorney’s Office, as well as our Public Safety and Enforcement Agencies led by Betsy Bambrick, Ann Glennon and Dave Browne,” said Supervisor Cantwell. “This town and its employees are working diligently to restore the quality of life for our town.”