Developer sues partners over drainage

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The developers of a 44-acre oceanfront property up for subdivision in Sagaponack are embroiled in a multi-million dollar legal battle.

Marc Stanley Goldman, the managing partner of the holding company Sagaponack Realty LLC, filed a $30 million complaint against his business partners in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Friday.

The complaint alleges that Mr. Goldman’s partners, telecommunications mogul Michael Hirtenstein and banker Milton Berlinski refused to pay the company’s business expenses and refused to allow him to draw a new boundary between their lots that was required by the Sagaponack Village Planning Board.

Mr. Goldman sold Mr. Hirtenstein and Mr. Berlinski each a one-third stake in the company in 2005 for $15 million apiece, according to the lawsuit.

They had initially planned to divide the property into four lots, two of which would belong to the new partners in exchange for their equity interest in Sagaponack Realty, but due to drainage problems, it would be difficult to build on the two lots that Mr. Goldman had planned to retain for himself.

The application with the village’s Planning Board has been inactive since June. According to Sagaponack Village Clerk Rhodi Winchell, the developers need to come back to the village with a contour map that will help determine the best location for drainage on the property.

Members of the Sagaponack Village Board said Monday that they plan to carefully examine a 19-acre subdivision next door to Sagaponack Realty’s property, to make sure that they treat drainage the same way on both properties.

“I don’t think we want to be left holding the bag if we have to make a provision for drainage on one and not the other,” said Mayor Don Louchheim.

“When they all looked at the property there were drainage problems, but oh, well,” said Village Board member Lisa-Duryea Thayer.

The Sagaponack Village Board has also set a schedule for bids for renovations to its newly acquired village hall.

The board is not planning to do any exterior renovations, instead focusing on repairing the roof and south side of the building, shoring up the east and south walls of the meeting room and paving an area for a parking lot.

Specs for the two bid packages on the project will be available on Monday, December 15. The village will hold a meeting with potential bidders on December 19, after which bids will be opened on January 9 and awarded on January 12.

“There’s not much that’s discretionary in what we’re doing,” said Mr. Louchheim.

Bridgehampton Fire Department member John White told the board that roughly 40 houses on the east end of Daniel’s Lane near Town Line Road do not have access to water in case of a fire.

He said that the problem became apparent after the fire department responded to a call in that area two weeks ago.

“I don’t think we want to run a hose into the ocean,” said Mr. White.

Village Building Inspector John Woudsma said that the Suffolk County Water Authority is planning to run a new water main down Town Line Road, which could connect to a new water line on Daniel’s Lane.

Mr. Louchheim suggested that the village could form a tax district to raise money to provide water and fire hydrants to a section of Daniel’s Lane west of Sagaponack Lane and east of a property known as “the Johnson Wax house,” if the fire district’s commissioners did a survey of the residents to see if they were in favor of the plan.

“They could probably save enough on insurance to justify it,” said Mr. White.

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