Charges against an East Hampton Town man who officials said illegally rented out his single-family house to seven tenants were transferred Monday to his family trust, which will pay $7,500 in fines.
As part of a settlement with the town, spot inspections of the property by town officials can also be done for the next year.
In allowing the allegations to be transferred to the Guerrero Family Trust, the owner of the property, Judge Steven Tekulsky permitted Manuel Guerrero, a trustee of the trust, to enter guilty pleas on its behalf to violations of multiple-family occupancy laws, no building permit, no certificate of occupancy, no emergency escape and no smoke alarm.
“Do not let six months go by and not pay one penny and expect to get additional time,” Tekulsky warned Guerrero in Town Justice Court, adding that he is to let town inspectors into his house at “their convenience,” not his.
Failure to comply would be a violation, Tekulsky said, punishable by up to six months in jail on each count of the charges.
Guerrero, 54, was charged following a Nov. 9 search of his home by town officials.
In 2006, Guerrero was charged with similar violations after a search warrant was issued on the same property, but he pleaded not guilty in that case and was fined $500.
Guerrero, a native of Ecuador, told the court when he was arraigned in the most recent case that the seven tenants were all family members, friends or acquaintances who are also from Ecuador and were staying with him on a temporary basis.
In November, the tenants each paid fines of $250 for illegally occupying the house. Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski said they had to have known the four-bedroom house was illegally converted to eight bedrooms because the house was cordoned off into individual apartments.
Officials who executed the search warrant said there were people living in the basement and garage, and that a dining room, laundry room and office had been converted to bedrooms.
“They’re all gone; nobody’s living there anymore except family members,” Guerrero’s attorney, Robert Coyle of Sag Harbor, said after leaving Monday’s court proceedings. Coyle added all of the other problems with the house have also been rectified.
“We’re happy this could be brought to a close,” Coyle said. “We’ll remain in compliance. Both myself and Mr. Guerrero want to thank the town for getting it into compliance and working to make things safe for the community.”