Town & Trustees Found In Contempt, Fined $239,000 Plus Attorneys’ Fees

June 30, 2022 – In the ongoing “truck beach” dispute between several homeowner associations and the Town of East Hampton, the Supreme Court, Suffolk County (Hon. Paul J. Baisley, Jr.) has issued an order on June 30, 2022 finding the Town of East Hampton and the Trustees of the Town of East Hampton “guilty of civil and criminal contempt of the Appellate Division, Second Department’s decision of February 2, 2021 and this court’s modified judgment entered April 12, 2021”.  As a penalty, the court issued the maximum fine of $239,000 against the Town and Trustees and directed them to pay the associations’ attorney’s fees.

The underlying Appellate Division decision had found that the associations owned a 4,000-foot stretch of beach in Amagansett and that the Town and Trustees did not have the power to issue permits allowing members of the public to use the associations’ beaches.  The Supreme Court then granted a judgment with an injunction restricting the Town and Trustees from issuing “permits purporting to authorize their holders to operate and park vehicles” on the associations’ beaches.

After holding a hearing, the Supreme Court concluded “that the Town Code still permits vehicles on plaintiffs’ properties and that the Town has continued to issue permits allowing permit holders to drive on Truck Beach,” in derogation of the injunction.  In a scathing rebuke of the Town and Trustees, the court found that they “have clearly demonstrated an appallingly studied indifference and deliberate disobedience to the lawful and unequivocal orders of this court and the Appellate Division.”