A State Supreme Court Judge earlier this month ruled against former Southampton Town Councilman James Malone in a 2012 lawsuit claiming that he assaulted and imprisoned a local contractor.
According to the suit, filed by Anthony Prosano, who was living in Hampton Bays at the time, Mr. Malone failed to pay him for thousands of dollars worth of work he had been contracted to do and had completed in Mr. Malone’s home in Hampton Bays. After confronting Mr. Malone at the Suffolk County Center in Riverside—where Mr. Malone works as a county law clerk—Mr. Prosano said, the Town Board member locked him in his office and verbally abused him, refusing to let him leave.
In the State Supreme Court decision, Justice Mark Partnow wrote that Mr. Malone did violate Mr. Prosano’s rights, and that he was guilty of false imprisonment, assault, breach of contract, and failing to return supplies. As part of the decision, the judge will now decide on a financial settlement for Mr. Prosano. It could be more than $1 million.
“Well, my client is obviously ecstatic that the court found in his favor and believes that Mr. Malone has done some very bad things and needs to be held accountable,” said Marc Held of the Held and Hines law firm of Brooklyn and New York City, the attorneys representing Mr. Prosano. “Mr. Prosano is a young man with few financial resources, so he did the only thing he could—go to court to seek justice and hope that it would be served.”
According to the suit, Mr. Prosano was hired by Mr. Malone in November 2011 to complete $52,000 worth of renovations to Mr. Malone’s Anderson Street home, which had been damaged in a fire. After several attempts to get the money from Mr. Malone, Mr. Prosano said, he ran into the former town official while at the Suffolk County Clerk’s office to file a mechanic’s lien against the house in the amount of $7,971.52 until payment was received. That is when, he said, Mr. Malone locked the door of his office and threatened him.
In an audio recording given to The Southampton Press at the time the suit was filed, Mr. Prosano can be heard telling Mr. Malone he could not hold him in his office, to which Mr. Malone replied, “Yes, I can. I’m deputy county clerk. I’m holding you.” At one point, Mr. Malone also said, “You are f—–g playing in a pool you don’t belong in.”
Mr. Malone’s attorney, William Duffy of Patchogue, did not immediately return calls for comment.