East Hampton Town Fined in Truck Beach Case

East Hampton Town Police stopped off-roaders from driving on Truck Beach
East Hampton Town Police stopped off-roaders from driving on Truck Beach
Dan Rodgers

A Suffolk County court judge fined the Town of East Hampton and the East Hampton Town Trustees $239,000 after ruling that the entities were in contempt of court in the Truck Beach case.

Judge Paul J. Baisley Jr. issued the fines on June 30 when he found the pair had violated a February 2021 court order prohibiting SUV and truck drivers with town-issued permits to drive on a long-dispute stretch of beach near Napeague.

“The defendants have clearly demonstrated an appallingly studied indifference and deliberate disobedience to the lawful and unequivocal orders of this court and the Appellate Division,” the judge wrote.

The New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, denied in September the town’s motion to hear an appeal of a lawsuit the town lost when an earlier appeals ruling found the public is not allowed to drive on and fish from the beach in front of the oceanfront property owners’ homes.

A group of fishermen drove on the beach in an act of civil disobedience and filed a class action lawsuit against the homeowners. The homeowners sought to have summonses that town offices issued the fishermen heard in Baisley’s court. But in the same ruling in which Baisley fined the town, he also denied the homeowners’ request and sent the trespassing charges back to East Hampton Town Justice Court.

Town officials could not be reached on the fine.

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