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10 firms with surf-clam permits have N.J. ties

Mark Williams shucks surf clams in Montauk Harbor.

Mark Williams shucks surf clams in Montauk Harbor. (Feb 4, 2011) Credit: Mark Harrington

Ten of the 17 companies that currently hold New York surf-clam permits are linked to New Jersey brothers Leroy and Martin Truex, business records and interviews show. The 10 companies own at least 15 of the 22 New York State clamming permits, nearly 70 percent, according to state records. Each of the 10 companies lists one of three men -- Brooks Dermont, Gary Vegliante or Ernest Sykes Jr. -- as a shareholder or officer, according to state Department of Environmental Conservation records. Each company is represented by attorney J. Lee Snead.

The 10 Truex-associated companies are:

Doxsee Sea Clam

Vegliante is listed as the corporate officer for the company, which has been associated with the surf-clam industry since 1944. Last year, Snead said, Bob Doxsee Jr. of Point Lookout, sold the company along with its two permits and boats to the holding company Squassux Llc. Snead said the Truexes were among the equity stakeholders in Squassux, but declined to be more specific. Vegliante said a reporter's call last month was the first he'd heard he was Doxsee's top officer, though he confirmed assisting Snead.

Bayhead Inc.

Bayhead, which holds three New York surf-clam permits, meets the state requirement for New York residency, listing Snead's Bellport address in State Department records and Dermont, Sykes and Vegliante in the DEC application. The company in January donated $1,250 to New York State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), sponsor of a bill that paved the way for consolidation in the surf-clam industry. Bayhead lists a post office box in Manahawkin, N.J. That address is affiliated with other Truex businesses.

Winter Harbor Brands

Winter Harbor, holder of three New York permits, listed the same Manahawkin post office box when it donated $1,250 to Zeldin on the same day as Bayhead did. Current online New York Department of State business records list Martin Truex as the chairman/chief executive of Winter Harbor Brands. Snead said the record has since been updated to list Vegliante, also mayor of West Hampton Dunes, as the company's corporate officer. Vegliante "signed the application for marine permits, including the supplemental application for an Atlantic Ocean surf-clam permit, and provided his current address to be in the State of New York," the state DEC said. Vegliante did not respond to questions about the corporate officer's position at Winter Harbor. Winter Harbor Brands also has a $67,600 contract with the DEC to conduct a long-delayed survey of the state's surf-clam population.

St. Peter Dock

The company is owned by Promised Land Shellfish, which in Department of State records lists Leroy Truex as an officer. State campaign records list St. Peter Dock, which donated $2,500 to Zeldin in April 2011, at the Manahawkin, N.J., post office box.

Lady Kim Inc.

Former surf-clammer Bob Martin, of Hampton Bays, said he sold Lady Kim and his surf-clam permit to Mecox Clam Co. in August 2008. Current online records of the New York Department of State list Leroy Truex as Mecox's corporate officer. Snead said Truex "was at one time" an officer of Mecox, but "he is no longer."

Freeport Sea Clam Co. and Off Shore Diving Corp.

Once owned and run by the late clammer William (Billy) Granau of Freeport, the companies were sold through a New Jersey intermediary to Mecox Clam in 2000, said Granau's widow, Charlotte.

Aqua Harvesters and C. Seaman Seafood

Both are owned by Promised Land Shellfish.

Lyons Fisheries Inc.

The company is owned by Promised Land Shellfish.

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