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East Hampton, Springs illegal housing cases postponed again

Two frequently postponed cases involving the alleged illegal use of single-family homes in East Hampton Town for multiple tenants have been postponed again.

They were scheduled to be heard in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Monday but Judge Steven Tekulsky instead read letters in court from the defense attorneys asking for more time to prepare their answers to the charges.

One case involves a house at 160 Red Dirt Rd. in Springs that the owner, Leanna Erdmann, is accused of operating as a resort in a residential neighborhood. That case was adjourned until March 28.

In the other case, Manuel Guerrero of 2 Amagansett Dr. East, is charged with renting his home to seven tenants. A new date of April 4 was scheduled for that case to be heard.

The town cited Erdmann for converting a garage and an artist’s studio into additional living space without the required permits, inspections and approvals. She was also cited for having no building permits or certificates of occupancy for completed renovations, having open pool gates that were not self-closing and latching as required, and lacking a required pool alarm and a code-compliant pool barrier.

“Investigators in this case relied in part on social media and online advertising to build their case against the owner for the changes-of-use charges,” the town’s code enforcement director, Betsy Bambrick, said after Erdmann was charged with 26 violations in September. “Review of an online rental site, which advertised the location as an East Hampton resort rental, assisted in the case.”

Erdmann has denied the charges.

Town officials charged Guerrero, 54, with having no building permit or certificate of occupancy, converting a single-family home to a multifamily home, and overcrowding after a Nov. 9 a search of his house revealed the conditions.

Guerrero was charged with similar violations in 2006 after a search warrant was issued on the same property, but he has said he was falsely accused in both cases. He said that in the 2006 case he was fined “about $500.”

Guerrero pleaded not guilty in the most recent case. He said the seven tenants he is accused of renting to were all family members, friends or acquaintances who are also from his native Ecuador and staying with him on a temporary basis.

The tenants each paid fines of $250 for illegally occupying the house. Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski said that the tenants had to have known the four-bedroom house was converted to eight bedrooms illegally because of the way the house was “cordoned off into individual apartments.”

Officials executing the search warrant said people were living in the basement and garage, and that a laundry room, dining room and office had been converted to bedrooms.

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