Tag Archive | "Montauk"

Montauk Waves from the Shore

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“Leviathan,” by Aubrey Roemer, waved in the wind on Sunday, June 4 during Montauk’s annual Blessing of the Fleet. Photo by David Rey.

By Mara Certic

Whether skillfully strung on a ferry or quietly decorating an unassuming dinghy, flags are everywhere during Montauk’s annual Blessing of the Fleet. But this year, when the adorned yachts, trawlers and skiffs left the inlet and traveled west toward Culloden Point on Sunday, they were met with a different sort of flag: 77 blue portraits of assorted Montaukers painted on handkerchiefs, pillowcases and napkins waved in the wind on the beach as lost friends and fishermen were remembered at sea.

The flags are the creation of Aubrey Roemer, who escaped to the South Fork a few months ago. The artist, who studied at the Pratt Institute, was living in New York City when she found herself stuck in a rut and decided on a whim to move the 118 miles east to Montauk. Ms. Roemer, who knew very little about the East End, had been warned by city-dwelling friends that “the locals can be really cold and salty,” she said.

She ignored her friends’ admonitions and checked into the Atlantic Terrace Motel, right on the beach overlooking the ocean. She had no specific plans to create an art project, she said, until she met her first locals.

“I came here with no anything, and the locals weren’t jerks to me; they actually made me feel really pretty awesome,” she said. March interactions with bartenders, fishermen and other hardy souls inspired Ms. Roemer to create a series of portraits of the local residents who welcomed her with open arms.

Ms. Roemer began painting the people she met in the sleepy, off-season town, and hopes to complete 500 portraits by the end of the summer season. Each portrait is painted with a blue, water-based paint onto a piece of fabric foraged from around town. T-shirts, bed sheets, and tablecloths are just some of the canvases that the artist managed to obtain through people she met at the Community Church and other local spots.

Ms. Roemer’s artistic routine is about as laidback as the hamlet she now calls home. Models of all ages are invited to her makeshift studio—the basement of a friend’s house to be photographed. Then she spends around 20 minutes casually chatting to them while painting their likeness, or what she calls “a perceived gestural expression.”

A long ream of fabric sits permanently on her worktable, effectively creating mono prints of each face as the paint soaks through the original canvas. The ream, which she refers to as a “scroll,” contains a copy of every portrait she has done and intends to do.

Ms. Roemer’s inspiration is an ocean dotted with white caps, but in her work, the white caps are by people. “The people are going to punctuate the white more aggressively here. Every single person I’ve painted is on here,” she said of the scroll.

Her installation on the unnamed beach to the west of the jetties is just one of three she hopes to do by the end of the summer.  The complete project, “Leviathan,” will culminate in an installation on the beach in Eddie Ecker County Park. Her vision is for the flags to be attached along the hangar dock, while the scroll of mono prints will be installed along the waterfront on posts. She hopes that spectators will approach it both by land and sea, as the double-sided nature of the project allows for a multifaceted installation.

Each painting has two distinct sides, she explained.  “One side is going to stay wonky and weird, the other side I’m going to tighten up. They’re totally just loose and awesome.”

She was inspired to entitle her project “Leviathan” when it popped up in a word-of-the-day e-mail. Although the word derives from the name of an Old Testament sea monster and it is now synonymous with any large sea creature (Psalm 104: 25-26: “So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein”). “I just thought it was really appropriate,” she said.

She explained that the strongest metaphor of the project is that of “crashing whitecaps,” adding, “there’s something about blue and white in this town.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ef-batvqLw&sns=em)

Ms. Roemer’s quiet respect and understanding of her new home has added a thoughtful element to the project. In addition to all of the smaller works, the artist is creating one large portrait—roughly the size of the bed sheet that she is painting it on—of Donald Alversa, a 24-year-old fisherman born and raised in Montauk, who died in a fishing accident last September.

And last week she created a likeness of Tyler Valcich, a 20-year-old from Montauk who died in May. She presented it to his parents. “I understand the acute pain from the loss of someone in a tight-knit community,” she said.  A memorial portrait is, she said,  ”the least I can do.”



Navy SEAL Foundation Fundraiser

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Navy Beach restaurant in Montauk will host its second annual fundraiser for the Navy SEAL Foundation with a cocktail party, “Honor our Warriors, Supporting their Families,” on Saturday, June 21, from 4 to 6 p.m.

The fundraiser will raise awareness and funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation, an organization that provides support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and their families.

Guests will be able to mingle with retired Navy SEALs and Navy SEAL Foundation representatives. There will be live music by Nancy Atlas, wines provided by Turquoise Life, beer from Brooklyn Brewery and signature light bites. Admission is $40.

Last year, the restaurant raised $17,000, and this year will match the first $2,500 raised through this season’s efforts. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, a $1 donation will be added to each dining check in support of the Navy SEAL Foundation and diners can increase the donation.

Navy Beach restaurant is located on Navy Road in Montauk. The restaurant will be open for regular dinner service after the event. Reservations are recommended.

For more information or to place a reservation, visit www.navybeach.com or call (631) 668-6868. To make a donation for the Navy SEAL Foundation, visit www.navybeach.com/help-navy-beach-support-the-navy-seal-fundation/.

Coram Woman’s Body Found in Montauk

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By Tessa Raebeck

The East Hampton Town Police Department, in conjunction with the Suffolk County Medical Examiners Office, is investigating the death of a woman from Coram that occurred at the overlook parking area along Old Montauk Highway, south of Washington Drive in Montauk.

The woman, Nikole Doering, 37, of Coram, was found deceased in her car at approximately 3:03 p.m. Monday, June 2, after police responded to a report of an unresponsive female in a vehicle.

Ms. Doering had been reported missing by her family to the Suffolk County Police Department on Sunday, June 1.

The investigation is ongoing and does not appear to be suspicious in nature at this time. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the East Hampton Town Police Department at (631) 537-7575.

Value of Montauk Beach Work Debated

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By Stephen J. Kotz

A new economic analysis by East Hampton Town of a proposed beach stabilization project for downtown Montauk has calculated that the project’s value in total economic benefits would be more than double the amount projected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

First Coastal Consulting Corporation prepared the report at the request of the town and estimated that saving the ocean beach in the downtown Montauk area would be worth an estimated $238.9 million. URS, a consulting form that undertook a similar study for the Army Corps, estimated that the project would provide an estimated $103.9 million in economic benefits.

The finding lends support for Montauk to receive significantly more relief than what the Army Corps has already committed to the hamlet, the town stated in a press release on Monday.

The Army Corps’ latest proposal calls for only half of the Montauk project to be built this fall. A more extensive project is proposed to be built under the greater Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Study two years later.

“Without the construction of a feeder beach, the emergency project as currently proposed places Montauk in a vulnerable position,” said Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.

Since the economic analysis is key to the Army Corps’ justification for this project, Supervisor Cantwell has urging the Army Corps to build a much more substantial project in Montauk as soon as possible.

Citizens for Access Rights to Host Annual Fundraiser Thursday

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Citizens for Access Rights or CfAR will hold their annual fundraiser on Thursday, June 5 at 7 p.m. at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett.

The event will feature live music, auction items and a raffle. The cost is $20 for CfAR members renewing at the door, $10 for current 2014 members and $25 for non-members. All proceeds go to CfAR to protect beach access on the East End.  CfAR t-shirts will also be for sale.

CfAR is a group of East End residents who support open access to local beaches. In response to two lawsuits in which private individuals are claiming to own the ocean beach at Napeague, CfAR has supported the East Hampton Town Trustees, the town board and any other governmental body, which is willing to oppose the privatization of the beaches.

For more information on CfAR, visit citizensforaccessrights.com, or “like” CfAR on Facebook.

Advocates Discuss Lack of East End Youth Services

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By Stephen J. Kotz

East End youth advocates gathered on Thursday, May 29, at the David Crohan Community Center in Flanders to solicit ideas about how Suffolk County could both maintain and improve the services to young people.

The impetus for the forum was the completion of a draft report by an East End subcommittee of the Suffolk County Youth Board Coordinating Council that focused specifically on the East End. The subcommittee was one of four convened by the county, the others being tasked with studying behavioral health issues, teen pregnancy and unemployment.

“There is a lot of agreement that this is an under served community,” said Nancy Lynott, the director of the Southampton Town Youth Bureau in an interview on Monday. She added that while it was reassuring that the county recognized the East End’s special needs, the region must still fight for its fair share of funding.

That will be particularly true in years to come, she said, because of a change in how funding for youth services is doled out at the county level by New York State. “There have been changes that give the county some flexibility in how state funding is used,” she said. “It used to be designated for each municipality, but starting in 2014, it all goes to county” to allocate as it sees fit.

The report, which is due to be completed next month, will be an important tool if East End providers of youth services want to maintain their share of the county pie. “We want to be able to show why East End communities should be getting priority,” she said. “They are aware of our situation, but they wanted not just stories and anecdotes, but hard information.”

What the report found was that it is difficult to get everything from mental health services to employment counseling on the East End because it is so far east of the county’s population centers, there is a lack of public transportation, and services are available on a spotty basis.

“Service delivery is fragmented,” Ms. Lynott added, “with some provided by towns, villages and even the county. We also have 30-some school districts on the East End. So what we have to do is get everybody on the same page.”

Last week’s event was co-sponsored by youth bureaus in Southampton, Riverhead and Southold towns as well as by Suffolk County Legislators Jay Schneiderman, who represents the South Fork, and Al Krupski, who represents the North Fork.

Although the image of the East End is one of wealth and glamor, Ms. Lynott said there is a darkly different reality behind the façade. “We have some terrific wealth out here, but we also have some terrific poverty,” she said.

During her presentation, she said that East End communities routinely turn up in lists of the most underprivileged in the county. Six of the most economically distressed communities in the county found on the East End, with 76 percent of teens between the ages of 16 to 19 unemployed. Seven of the 15 communities with the highest number of uninsured families are also here. East End children also qualify at higher averages for free or reduced-fee school lunches, and young people on the East End “are well above the national average in their use and abuse of alcohol and drugs.”

East End youth are priced out of the housing market and have limited social outlets, the report found. And those who finish school find “they don’t know what they are going to do next and we have we have very little to offer them,” Ms. Lynott said.

“Government doesn’t understand that if you spend $2,000 on prevention, you might save $30,000 to $40,000 down the road” in treatment or jail costs, said Riverhead Councilman Jon Dunleavy, one of several public officials to attend Thursday’s roundtable.

Rachel Toy, a Sag Harbor resident and a recent college graduate, said providing good jobs for local youth is a must.

Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender suggested that local building contractors could be enlisted to launch an apprentice program to help in that effort.

Kerry Laube, a Westhampton Beach Police Department sergeant, said teaching kids about the dangers of substance abuse should be a priority.

Helen Atkinson-Barnes, who runs educational programs at The Retreat, a non-profit that provides shelter and counseling for domestic abuse victims in East Hampton, called on educating young people about the importance of developing healthy relationships. “Underlying a lot of those issues” contained in the report “are unhealthy relationships,” she said.

“First, I want to address transportation,” said Laura Smith of the North Fork Alliance, who said better bus service is needed to help young people get to jobs and appointments.

Improving mental health services was the concern of Andrea Nydegger, who works with the Eastern Suffolk BOCEs on the North Fork. “I have kids who get referred to me constantly,” she said, adding that she tells parents counseling is cheaper than paying for a tutor.

Kim Jones of the East Hampton Anti-Bias Task Force agreed there was a “dire need” for better mental health services, and said that the community had recently learned of the second suicide this year of a young person.

“Our high school students are not asking ‘where are you going to college?’” she said. ‘They are asking, ‘who do you think is gong to commit suicide next?’”

“We realize this is just the beginning,” Ms. Lynott told the gathering. “I hope we can continue these discussions. Maybe we can get some real changes started.”

Nessel Brothers To Be Honored at Montauk Dinner

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Richie and Jacob Nessel will be the honorees at the annual Montauk Harbor Old Timer’s Dinner, hosted by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday June 5, at the Clam and Chowder House at Salivar’s from 5 to 8 p.m. The two brothers have made their living fishing in Montauk for over 50 years. They own their own boats and have also worked on various charter and party boats in the hamlet.

Richie Nessel, who captains the “Nasty Ness,” recently received the Chester Wolf IGFA Sportsman Award at the first annual Shark’s Eye Tournament, which is a tag-and-release event to promote conservation of sharks. He was also instrumental in easing this year’s New York State fishing regulations and catch limits, specifically addressing the summer flounder restrictions in the state compared to neighboring states.

To do, he reached out to Governor Andrew Cuomo and invited him for a day of fishing on his boat. That resulted in the governor learning of the unfair regulations and a change in the daily bag limits by the Department of Environmental Conservation, which will have a positive impact on charter and party boat business in Montauk Harbor this summer.

Jacob Nessel began fishing in Montauk with his dad in 1951. By 1955, as a 15-year-old, he was already working as a deckhand on Montauk party boats on weekends and summer vacations. Captain Jake spent the next 15 years running the Marlin 3, 4 and 5.  His own charter boat, “Sportfisher,” fished in 1994 and 1995. Since 1996 he has captained the Marlin5/Ebb Tide.

Tickets for the event are $40., which includes dinner with wine or beer.  The evening begins at 5 p.m. with a roast of both brothers. Tickets are available at the Montauk Chamber of Commerce office, or by calling (631) 668-2428. Tickets can also be purchased online by going to www.montaukchamber.com, scrolling to the “Events” tab and using PayPal or a credit card to purchase a ticket.

East End Services on Memorial Day Celebrate Those Who Served, Those Who Fell

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The color guard makes its way down Main Street during the 2013 Sag Harbor Memorial Day parade. Michael Heller photo.

The color guard makes its way down Main Street during the 2013 Sag Harbor Memorial Day parade. Michael Heller photo.

By Kathryn G. Menu

Residents across the East End will honor those men and women who died while serving in the military during this country’s wars at Memorial Day services beginning Sunday and continuing on Monday.

In Sag Harbor, remembrance will begin this Sunday, May 25, said Martin Knab, commander of the Sag Harbor American Legion Chelberg & Battle Post, as members of the Legion and the Sag Harbor VFW are joined by Sag Harbor Boy Scouts in replacing the flags on the gravestones of veterans in cemeteries throughout the village. Flags and wreaths will also be laid at the veterans memorial at North Haven Village Hall, and on the South Ferry Lt. Joseph Theinert, named for the Shelter Island resident who perished in Afghanistan in June 2010. A flag will also be placed at the 1812 memorial on High Street in Sag Harbor, said Mr. Knab.

On Memorial Day—Monday, May 26— veterans, government officials and scouts will begin the Memorial Day Parade at the World War I monument at Otter Pond at 9 a.m. to lay a wreath, and march down Main Street to the Civil War monument to do the same before stopping in front of the Municipal Building and the Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge. The parade will continue to Bay Street and to Marine Park, stopping at the village’s memorials to those who fought and died in World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War. Both Mr. Knab and Sag Harbor VFW Commander Roger King will speak, as will James Larocca, a Sag Harbor resident and veteran who has dedicated much of his life to public service.

Residents will be invited back to the Legion for refreshments and hot dogs, said Mr. Knab.

Sag Harbor will not be alone in celebrating and honoring fallen soldiers.

On Sunday, May 25, the Montauk Veterans and Service Club will host its annual Montauk Memorial Day parade at noon, beginning at Kirk Park and moving east through Montauk to the village green. On Monday, May 26, beginning at 9 a.m. the annual Bridgehampton Memorial Day service will be held at the war monument at the corner of Ocean Road and Montauk Highway, hosting by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, Nathaniel Howell Topping Post 580. Members of the Bridgehampton Fire Department and the Bridgehampton School band will also be on hand for the ceremonies. The Village of Southampton Commission on Veterans Patriotic Events will host its Memorial Day service on Monday starting at 11 a.m. at Agawam Park, after a brief parade at 10:45 a.m. starting at the First Presbyterian Church and heading down Jobs Lane to the park.




BuddhaBerry Aims to Bring Healthier Frozen Yogurt Fare to Sag Harbor

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Nancy Passaretti

Nancy Passaretti; Photo by Dalton Portella

By Kathryn G. Menu

When Nancy Passaretti began cheffing up organic buckwheat Belgian waffles and stocking her pantry with dark chocolate covered acai berries and toasted quinoa, her goal was to entice her children to try healthy alternatives to the standard fare found at the frozen yogurt shops the family frequented in Manhattan. Little did Ms. Passaretti know, she had stumbled upon a new business that would take her to Montauk and as of next week, Sag Harbor.

BuddhaBerry Frozen Yogurt Café, which opened at 43 South Euclid Avenue in downtown Montauk last year, will launch what Ms. Passaretti says will be the company’s flagship store at 125 Main Street in Sag Harbor, the former home of WellNest.

BuddhaBerry will offer its customers a choice of 12 different flavors of frozen yogurt, as well as 100 dispensers that will serve toppings ranging from the healthy—raw nuts, chia seeds and golden flax seeds—to the traditional sprinkles and assorted candies found on the shelves of many frozen yogurt shops.

The shop will also feature a toppings bar with fresh ingredients like fruit (shipped in twice daily to both locations for maximum freshness), homemade granola and goji berries, as well as hot fudge, caramel, fruit sauces and more. An open air Belgian waffle kitchen will allow patrons to make their own waffles, choosing from buckwheat, seven grain, gluten-free and buttermilk—all organic. They will also be able to add superfoods or chocolate chips before the waffles are pressed in the iron.

An Italian coffee bar, serving espresso and cappuccino drinks, as well as over 20 different flavors of smoothies and frozen yogurt shakes, is also on tap at BuddhaBerry in Sag Harbor.

A small retail section will offer merchandise like t-shirts, but also children’s activity books for the students Ms. Passaretti hopes will frequent the Main Street shop after school, using it as safe, healthy environment to hang out with friends, grab a frozen yogurt and work on their homework, similar to what she has seen happen at her Montauk store.

The foray into the world of frozen yogurt began for the mother of four with a mission to get her children to try healthier options when it came to their food choices. As someone who practiced yoga—last year, Ms. Passaretti completed the yoga teacher training program at Yoga Shanti in Sag Harbor—and healthy eating habits, she viewed the regular frozen yogurt treats her family was enjoying in Manhattan as an opportunity.

“I knew I couldn’t say, ‘No more junk,’ but I could take something they loved and incorporate these healthy options,” said Ms. Passaretti, who lined her pantry with chia seeds, organic fruits and nuts, dark chocolate and other superfoods her children used to top their yogurt.

“At first they complained, but then they really started to like it and they preferred dark chocolate to junky milk chocolate,” she said. “I started seeing such a difference in their health, the way they looked, their energy levels.”

For Ms. Passaretti, who summered in Montauk and noticed there was not a frozen yogurt shop in the hamlet, leaving her career in medical software to open BuddhaBerry gave her the chance to seize an opportunity, but also begin working in a business she has a real passion for.

She spent a year planning the opening of the first BuddhaBerry, researching frozen yogurt purveyors on dairy farms in Oregon, Wisconsin and Arkansas for frozen yogurt made with real yogurt rather than powders and water. Dedicated to ensuring the shop maintained a healthy environment, and was clean, Ms. Passaretti researched self- serve containers for a number of dry goods, but opted to keep fresh fruits, chopped fresh nuts and the like behind a counter where customers can request them.

Besides its expansion to Sag Harbor, the business has also grown to include a host of organic frozen yogurts, as well as two Greek yogurt flavors and vegan sorbet options.

Ms. Passaretti intends to follow up the Sag Harbor BuddhaBerry—she’s hoping for a May 21opening—with a Southampton location next summer. But Sag Harbor is where she intends to live, moving to the village this week with her family in advance of the store’s official opening.

“Sag Harbor just felt right,” she said. “It’s a nice year-round community, and we already had a number of regular customers who would make a regular trek out to Montauk.”

Now they can come to Main Street.

BuddhaBerry is located a 43 South Euclid Avenue in Montauk and 125 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, visit buddhaberry.com.





Former East Hampton Town Judge Forced to Pay $1 Million

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By Mara Certic

In an April 21 decision, New York State Supreme Court Justice Paul J. Baisley Jr. ordered former East Hampton Town Justice Catherine Cahill to pay back over $1 million of funds her late husband, Marvin Hyman, an attorney, had deposited into their personal joint account from a land sale shortly before his death in December 2005.

Under the decision, Ms. Cahill, the first woman to serve on the town’s justice court, must pay $1,045,400 plus interest to Nelson Gerard, her late husband’s former partner in Buckskill Farm, LLC.

In June 2003, Mr. Hyman and Mr. Gerard created the limited liability corporation and purchased a 9.6-acre parcel of vacant land in East Hampton. According to court records, Mr. Gerard contributed $2 million and Mr. Hyman $350,000 toward the purchase.

According to a civil suit brought by Mr. Gerard, the agreement between Mr. Hyman and Mr. Gerard required Mr. Hyman to “take all steps necessary or desirable at his own cost and expense” to get a subdivision of the parcel into as many as eight lots, including a required agricultural preserve, approved by the East Hampton Town Planning Board.

In the agreement, several different distribution scenarios were offered depending on how many lots the town permitted in the subdivision. If only four or five lots and a reserve area were allowed, all the lots were to be owned by Mr. Gerard, with Mr. Hyman receiving only the reserve area. In February 2004, Mr. Hyman wrote to Mr. Gerard stating that a proposed eight-lot subdivision plan had been submitted for approval and also mentioning that the town had shown interest in buying four of the lots as well as the agricultural reserve area—leaving Buckskill Farm, LLC with just four smaller lots.

In his letter, Mr. Hyman wrote, “if we continue to pursue the town purchase we should discuss the financial implications on the members that such a purchase would have. As we did not consider this possibility in the original agreement, we should address the same as soon as possible.”

According to Mr. Gerard’s suit, he offered his partner the option of receiving either $850,000 or one of the remaining four lots in exchange for his share of the LLC. Mr. Hyman presented Mr. Gerard with a proposed contract that would leave Buckskill Farm, LLC with the southern four lots of the property. For $1.9 million, the town would buy the remaining 6.8-acre area through a Community Preservation Fund purchase—all of which eventually became known as the agricultural reserved area – to lease to an organic farmer.

During the time of the town purchase, Ms. Cahill was serving as a town justice. She served on the bench for 20 years before retiring from the position last year.

In September 2005, Mr. Hyman closed the sale with the town, without his partner’s knowledge, according to Mr. Gerard’s suit. He deposited the money into the LLC’s bank account and then “drew a check on the Buckskill Farm account for virtually the entire amount of the sale proceeds, payable to himself, which he alone signed, and then deposited into a joint account he maintained with his wife, Catherine Cahill,” the suit states.

Shortly before his death, Mr. Hyman testified that he had thought, based on the operating agreement, that he was to receive all of the proceeds “because the operating agreement provided for him to receive the reserve area in a five or four-lot subdivision.”

The court ruled, however, that Mr. Hyman had adopted a “self-serving interpretation of the agreement.”

When Mr. Hyman died in 2005, Ms. Cahill inherited the case along with her husband’s estate. During a sworn deposition she invoked spousal privilege when asked questions about her husband’s business agreements, later waiving that right in trial. The court agreed with Mr. Gerard that “it is improper for a party to obstruct discovery by the assertion of a privilege at a deposition only to waive it and subject the opponent to surprise testimony at trial.”

The court found both Ms. Cahill’s deposition and trial testimonies “as a whole to be not credible,” in particular, her stated ignorance regarding certain matters “fully within the comprehension of any lawyer or judge.”

Ms. Cahill has been ordered pay Mr. Gerard 9 percent interest on the $1,045,400. Her attorney, Stephen Angel, of Riverhead, could not be reached for comment by this paper’s deadline.