Illegal Short-Term Rental Targeted in Noyac

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The entry to Villa Lavender on Noyac Path. Peter Boody photo

The Southampton Town Code Enforcement Department has served more than two dozen citations for building and rental code violations on Paul Fried of East Hampton, identified by the town as the operator of an illegal short-term rental house in Noyac that has exasperated neighbors because of loud music, noisy events and lost people searching for it.

Called Villa Lavender on some rental websites, the 6,300-square-foot shingle-style house on eight acres with seven legal bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms at 1854 Noyac Path has been rented out for weddings, parties and a regular Pilates class, according to neighbor Janet Verneuille, first vice president of the Noyac Civic Council, who spoke about the house at the council’s monthly meeting on September 18.

Steven Troyd, the town’s public safety director and head of the enforcement department, also attended the meeting to talk about code enforcement and Villa Lavender. He assured council members “we are moving forward, process serving the corporation” in Florida that he said owns the property and “looking for the individual” who evidence consistently showed “was doing this,” he said. “This should bring it to a conclusion.”

Mr. Fried could be fined an amount equal to the rate for rentals, which websites list as $6,000 a day, according to Mr. Troyd.

Following the execution of a search warrant over Labor Day weekend and an investigation conducted by department inspector Ricardo Larios, which Mr. Troyd called “similar to a fugitive investigation,” the department issued 30 citations on September 20 and served an appearance ticket on Mr. Fried returnable in Southampton Town Justice Court on November 16.

“We had to identify who the renter was,” Mr. Troyd later explained in an interview, referring to the person managing the rentals. The evidence pointing to Mr. Fried “was consistent with a previous investigation” that fizzled before the town hired Mr. Troyd, a former FBI agent, last year. “Then we had to find him,” he added. “We did, in East Hampton.”

Alleged violations include operating a transient rental; renting without a permit; changing the use of the property from residential; inadequate smoke alarms; no building permit for work done on the house; a lack of emergency egress for illegal bedrooms in the basement; and multiple faults in the pool enclosure, doors and gateways.

Mr. Fried, reached on Monday, declined to comment except to say that the Code Enforcement Department “shouldn’t serve any kind of appearance ticket on me as the property manager to begin with.”

Mr. Fried has been in the news before and so has Villa Lavender. It was the setting for a July 4 weekend party in 2015 that was covered by the New York Post as a “sprayathon” because a rapper performing at the pool shot champagne at the hundreds of revelers with a super soaker. The Curbed Hamptons website reported the party “involved chugging champagne and throwing midgets into the pool.” There were charges and counter-charges about damage to the property and unpaid rent and the young Wall Streeter who threw the party, purportedly a fund-raiser for an animal rescue operation, lost his job.

Mr. Fried was co-owner of an alleged party house at 18 Jordan Drive north of Water Mill that was destroyed by fire one night in January of 2012. He faced charges then for having no rental permit and allowing transient rentals.

The same year, he was identified as the owner of 53 Lincoln Street in Sag Harbor’s private Nineveh community. Neighbors charged the house was rented out for weddings. The village building inspector warned him in writing that he needed a special permit for events with more than 75 people.

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Peter Boody is news editor of The Sag Harbor Express. Previously he was the editor of the Southampton Press for many years and also edited several other papers, including the Shelter Island Reporter and the East Hampton Press, of which he was founding editor. He was a regular correspondent for the New York Times Long Island section and wrote the novel “Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me.”