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Sentencing postponed for former Thatched Cottage owner

Ralph Colamussi said during the plea in September that he employed immigrants from the Philippines and threatened them if they complained about their pay and work.

The exterior of the former Thatched Cottage in

The exterior of the former Thatched Cottage in Centerport, now renamed Water's Edge, on Oct. 24. Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

The sentencing of the former owner of the Thatched Cottage catering hall in Centerport was postponed Friday.

Federal prosecutors say Ralph Colamussi, 64, of Huntington paid immigrant workers substandard wages and threatened them physically. Colamussi pleaded guilty in September to a federal charge of forced labor. 

Colamussi's lawyer, Anthony LaPinta of Hauppauge, said Friday that a new date had not been scheduled.

Colamussi said during the plea in September that while operating the Thatched Cottage, he employed immigrants from the Philippines and threatened them if they complained about their pay and work. 

He also said he forced some of the workers to apply fraudulently for student visas after their short-term H2-B work visa expired.

Colamussi and former manager Roberto Villanueva were indicted in December on six counts, including forced labor, fraud in foreign labor contracting, visa fraud and conspiracies to commit forced labor. 

Prosecutors have said that from 2008 to 2013, the pair lured workers from the Philippines — where Villanueva is a citizen — to Long Island with promises of lucrative work at the popular wedding and event venue, only to pay them less than what they were promised. 

The Thatched Cottage has been closed since 2014 when Huntington officials condemned the property. Colamussi owned the facility for 26 years before filing for bankruptcy protection in 2014.

LaPinta said Colamussi's sentencing would be rescheduled after Villanueva's case is decided.

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