The owners of Bagel Buoy Market on Bay Street in Sag Harbor allegedly allowed numerous county health and safety code violations to linger, according to a lawsuit filed February 7 by the business’s landlord in New York State Supreme Court.
KKT Sag Harbor Corporation, which owns the Sag Harbor building that Bagel Buoy occupies, is claiming the business owners are in violation of its lease because of the conditions alleged in the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the original lease, signed in December of 2013, required Bagel Buoy’s owners to “keep the premises and all parts thereof neat, clean and orderly” and to “promptly remove all waste, rubbish, trash, recyclables and renderings of every kind and nature … and not allow the same to accumulate.”
Accompanying the lawsuit are a handful of outside records, including an August 2017 report from Arrow Exterminating that said the bagel store and a second story apartment needed to be treated for mice and rats and that the exterior needed treatment for cockroaches. However, the lawsuit claims that the business “has failed to pay for the extermination services provided by Arrow or to contract for monthly extermination services.”
Additionally, the lawsuit cites violations identified during inspections by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services that refer to rat burrows; cockroaches on both the inside and outside of the premises; open, unclean and overflowing dumpsters; food being stored at improper temperatures; improper sneeze guards over food, and others.
According to the lawsuit, KKT Sag Harbor Corporation wants to evict Bagel Buoy, reclaim the property and receive monetary damages of at least $17,800 plus costs, disbursements and legal fees associated with the lawsuit.
“Numerous efforts were made to resolve this without the need for legal action, including letters and calls to the owners and their attorney,” said Alex Kriegsman, the attorney representing KKT Sag Harbor Corporation.
He said the landlord is willing to consider allowing Bagel Buoy to remain. “They could start by cleaning the place up. There are some serious health and safety violations there,” Mr. Kriegsman said.
The landlords sent Bagel Buoy, which is formally operated by 3 Bay Street Corporation, a notice of default on its lease on October 13, 2017. In a reply five days later, 3 Bay Street Corporation disagreed with its landlord’s assertions.
“Alleged dumpster overflows and uncleanliness are generally caused by the commercial tenants from 3B Bay Street and residential tenants from 3A Bay Street,” 3 Bay Street Corporation wrote. “The dumpster is located in a common area and the other tenants, not 3 Bay, regularly and continuously do not place their garbage in the dumpster and cause dumpster overflows.”
The tenant also attributed the presence of rodents to its proximity to the docks and denied the presence of rodents persisted after an exterminator performed work. The tenant also said it not in default on its trash hauling bills, as the lawsuit alleges, and that it had simply not yet been billed for exterminating services so it could not be in default on that payment, as the lawsuit also alleges. The parties have also clashed over parking on the property.
On Wednesday, Bagel Buoy owner Darrin Levine provided a statement to The Sag Harbor Express that read, “The Bagel Buoy has serviced and supported this community for the past 20 years. We now ask your support, as we await our day in court to exonerate the Bagel Buoy of all claims made by KKT [landlord]. The landlord’s case has no merit and has nothing to do with public health concerns. Their actions, including bringing suit and contacting the press, are no more than part of a plan to extort a change in the existing lease that would result in increased rent and a shorter term. In fact, this bullying was outlined in a written statement by Mr. John Regan referencing Ms. Regan’s and Ms. Tweed’s (owners of KKT) intentions. ‘The girls have decided to spend $200,000 and get you out… Most of all you have become a liability to my wife.’ A copy of the most recent Board of Health Inspection demonstrating compliance with all regulations is available at the premises for anyone who would like to read it.”
According to records posted on the Suffolk County Department of Health Services food establishment inspection website, Bagel Buoy’s most recent inspection, dated February 1, listed 11 “risk factor violations.” Mr. Levine said Wednesday those were corrected within two weeks.