The former Carltun restaurant and catering hall on Wednesday in East...

The former Carltun restaurant and catering hall on Wednesday in East Meadow. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Operators of the former Carltun restaurant and catering hall at Eisenhower Park are in a contentious lawsuit with their ex-business partners after winning a Nassau County parks license to manage the space. 

Three managing members of EGB Hospitality LLC, the company that in 2022 won a 15-year license to operate the facilities, allege they were "unlawfully ousted" this year by two other managing members, Elias and Bobby Trahanas, according to the suit. Gerasimos Pagoulatos and Dennis and Nick Moshopoulos seek to be reinstated and paid up to $30 million in damages. 

The Trahanases say the three chose to exit the company in March after failing to fulfill their financial obligations to the project and got most of their investment back. They allege the trio is now trying to profit from the new venture as part of a "shakedown" and "con," court papers show.

The legal drama has not affected the daily operations of the facilities, reopened this year as The Union restaurant and The Lannin wedding venue. But it prompted three Nassau County judges to recuse themselves, citing conflicts of interest.

The first was State Supreme Court Justice Jerome Murphy, son-in-law of former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, Republican of Island Park.  

D'Amato's lobbying firm, Park Strategies, "has been retained by EGB to assist in various matters, including with regard to EGB’s license to operate the Eisenhower Park event space," Brian Gardner, the plaintiffs' attorney, wrote in a letter to the court. 

Justices Timothy Driscoll and Sharon Gianelli of Nassau State Supreme Court also recused themselves. Driscoll said he has "personal relationships with potential witnesses," while Gianelli said she was recusing "to avoid the appearance of impropriety." No other details were given. 

After the lawsuit was refiled in Queens Supreme Court, Justice Leonard Livote in October issued a temporary restraining order barring the Trahanases from taking action outside of the ordinary course of business, including disposing of or selling off company assets.

The Trahanas brothers took over the park license from Anthony Capetola, a prominent Williston Park lawyer and Republican who had managed it since 1995, when he and then-partner John Tunney opened the facilities after major renovations.

The licensee of the 85,000-square-foot building is required to pay Nassau County $504,000 annually and a portion of gross annual revenues, according to a copy of the agreement.

In launching their new venture, the Trahanases said they hoped to make Eisenhower Park a marquee destination and planned to bring professional golf events to the park and its three 18-hole golf courses. 

Chris Boyle, a county spokesman, said their renovated venue "has been nothing short of sensational and is a tremendous asset to Nassau County." 

The plaintiffs said their troubles started after March 2023, when they were locked out of the company's office space and were told they "no longer have any interest" in EGB, court filings said.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said in the filing that "far from agreeing to 'walk away' or otherwise part from the business, [they] were unlawfully ousted from EGB and their interests brazenly converted by the ... defendants for their own benefit." 

The Trahanases cut them checks "as a pretext to wrongfully exclude [them] from the business under the false claim that [they] were 'bought out' or no longer wanted to be involved, claims which are entirely false."

Michael Gordon, an attorney for the Trahanases and EGB, disputed that account.

In a letter to the plaintiffs' attorney, Gordon wrote: "Your clients have had absolutely no ownership interest in EGB since March 2023, when they voluntarily terminated their business relationship with the Trahanases and EGB."

The Moshopouloses and Pagoulatos "could no longer meet their financial obligations to EGB and aggressively negotiated an assignment of their membership interests back to the Trahanases, pocketing $1.72 million," lawyers for the Trahanases wrote in court papers.

The Trahanases also operate the Golden Reef Diner in Rockville Centre and concessions at Jones Beach and Robert Moses state parks.

Gerasimos Pagoulatos has owned the Sunrise Diner in Wantagh for 20 years and two hotel resorts in Cephalonia, Greece, according to court filings. 

The Moshopouloses have owned Laterna Restaurant & Catering in Bayside, Queens, according to filings. Nick Moshopoulos is a co-owner of cookie franchise Chip City, according to filings.

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