Suit Targets Jefferson Street Neighbor

The DiPaolo house at 10 Jefferson Street.
The DiPaolo house at 10 Jefferson Street.

By Stephen J. Kotz

Besides suing Sag Harbor Village over its failure to approve their plans to build a new house at their 10 Jefferson Street property, Evan and Antonia DiPaolo have also filed suit against their next-door neighbors, Bob Weinstein and Eric Hensley of 20 Jefferson Street.

That suit claims that Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Hensley built a wooden barrier along their shared property line, filled it with soil and planted private hedge without getting a building permit. As a result of the change in grade, the barrier has diverted rainwater to the DiPaolos’ property, the suit claims.

“It has caused, and is continuing to cause, substantial damage to my client’s barn,” said Alex Kriegsman, the DiPaolos’ attorney. The suit seeks reimbursement for the damage.

Tiffany Scarlato, the Sag Harbor attorney who represents Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Hensley, dismissed the DiPaolos’ claim as “a ‘slapp’ suit,” or a strategic lawsuit against public participation.

Mr. Weinstein has been a vocal critic of the DePaolos’ application to build a new house on their property. He is among a number of people Mr. Kriegsman has targeted with subpoenas seeking access to emails he says will show members of the civic organization Save Sag Harbor have had improper influence over village proceedings.

“What happened to your freedom of speech?” said Ms. Scarlato. “Every time you speak out in opposition to some project, you run the risk of being sued?”