Montauk News - Cyril's To Keep Liquor License At Least Until October

Posted on  | August 26, 2014     
Written by Shaye Weaver 

Two days before Cyril's Fish House's liquor license was to be canceled on August 27, State Supreme Court Justice Peter H. Mayer granted the bar and restaurant an injunction that keeps the license in place until September 9, according to the attorney who represents the business, Dianne LeVerrier.

Later, an agreement between attorney Martin Mehler, who is Cyril's State Liquor Authority appellate lawyer, and the attorney general's office extended the stay until October 2.

In a press release titled "Cyril's Fights Back," Ms. LeVerrier said her co-attorney, Conrad Jordan, and Mr. Mehler had requested the injunction, arguing that 
the town's attorney, Joseph Prokop, and the attorneys 
representing the SLA secured 
too harsh a penalty by providing SLA board members with misinformation—including erroneously saying that Michael Dioguardi, who owns the Cyril's property, had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and had been arrested for failing to have a certificate of occupancy.

Furthermore, Mr. Jordan and Mr. Mehler argued that the concerns that had been brought up against Cyril's were dismissed last year in East Hampton Town Justice Court, and that the town's building inspector, Tom Preiato, had said there were "no apparent health or safety concerns" at the premises.

Two weeks ago, when the SLA voted to cancel the license, the decision was based on 83 town regulations that Cyril's was 
accused of violating. According to East Hampton Town officials, among them were the lack 
of site plan approvals and 
having no certificate of occupancy for certain structures on the site, as well as not getting permission from the SLA for changes made to the bar and restaurant.

In its notice to Cyril's, the SLA said that the establishment had transferred its liquor license to a space at the front of the licensed premises without the SLA's permission, and that it operated more than one stand-up bar on the premises, again, without permission.

But Justice Mayer said that Cyril's had not been accused of typical SLA violations, like selling alcohol to minors, and that the town code violations did not provide "equally compelling grounds for cancellation," according to Ms. LeVerrier.

"After weighing the likelihood of a successful appeal of the SLA's cancellation and the threat of 'irreparable harm' if Cyril's lost its license immediately, he stayed the cancellation," she said of Justice Mayer's ruling.

After October 2, Justice Joseph Farneti, the State Supreme Court justice who is overseeing a larger case, which focuses on whether the business is legally operating with a certificate of occupancy it has from the 1960s, and within zoning restrictions, can schedule another date for further consideration of whether the liquor license should be canceled.

According to Ms. LeVerrier, that will likely happen after Cyril's closes for the season, meaning the business is out of hot water for the time being.

When reached on Tuesday, Mr. Prokop said he had no comment on the stay of cancellation.