Southampton Town Faces Two Lawsuits

The Town of Southampton was placed on notice of two impending legal suits — one for wrongful arrest, the other challenging the award of a bid on the restoration of the Nathaniel Rogers house in Bridgehampton.

In the first lawsuit, Gregg Gennari claims he was wrongfully arrested and roughed up by Southampton Town police officers last year. In a notice of claim filed last September, Gennari claims he “was assaulted and battered” with “excessive force” used against him by a town police officer outside of a home on Noyak Road near Sag Harbor on June 10.

He claims he sustained injury to his left shoulder, bicep, and arm, and is seeking the return of $3800 in medical expenses. He further claims he experienced the loss of his liberty, “fear and apprehension of Injury,” and violation of his constitutional rights, and that as a result of his arrest, he was unable to participate in social activities, including a children’s benefit concert, due to his temporary inability to play a musical instrument. The total amount of damages he is seeking from the town is $200,000.

In a summons filed June 8, Gennari claims the criminal case against him was resolved in his “favor” and that the town acted “negligently” in investigating the facts and circumstances of the case against him. The papers serve as a summons to the town to appear for a meeting at the office of his attorney, Patrick Carroll of Carle Place, within 30 days. Carroll did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The circumstances under which Gennari was arrested are not clear. Southampton Town Police Lieutenant Susan Ralph, who serves as the department’s public information liaison, referred an inquiry made by a reporter to the Town Attorney’s Office. Town Attorney James Burke said the lawsuit is being handled by a law firm arranged through its insurance carrier. He said it is to his understanding that the town’s outside counsel, Devitt, Spellman, and Barrett in Smithtown, is poised to file a motion to dismiss the case based on its merits. Ted Sklar, the attorney representing the town in the case, was not available for comment.

Ronald Webb Builders in Water Mill filed on June 11 against the town board challenging the town’s February decision to award a bid to Lipsky Enterprises LLC, stating the business was not the lowest responsible bidder for the final phase restoration of the Nathaniel Rogers house.

The 1820s three-story home, which is located at the corner of Montauk Highway and Ocean Road in Bridgehampton, was purchased in 2003 for about $1 million, using money allocated from the Community Preservation Fund. The legal papers contend that Lipsky’s bid of about $3.9 million, which included general construction and about $613,000 in alternate plans for the roof, cupola, and balustrade on the house, was over the builders’ own bid of about $3.8 million when lumped together.

Webb’s attorney, Jacob Amir of White Plains, did not return a phone call seeking comment on this story. Burke said that there is no stay preventing work from beginning on the project, and that the town feels the bid was awarded to the lowest responsible bidder on the project. The town reasoned that the work proposed was covered under the first section of the bid, so there was no need to award the second part of the bid in a different process. He said it is likely his office will file a motion to dismiss the case based on its merits.

Other potential lawsuits, which were in the form of notices of claims, were filed last month also, however, they were challenging this time the town’s Board of Trustees. In three separate sets of legal papers, the homeowners challenged the trustees’ decision to open the Mecox cut, claiming the environmental action damaged their properties located off of Flying Point Road in Water Mill.

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