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Southampton judge denied dismissal of $2.2M defamation suit

Anthony Gugliotta stands by his home in Southampton

Anthony Gugliotta stands by his home in Southampton as Southampton Village Justice Barbara Wilson films him with her phone on June 17, 2015. Gugliotta sued Wilson after she accused him of installing a security camera saying it was aimed at her daughter's bedroom window. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

A Southampton judge’s motion to have a $2.2 million defamation lawsuit against her dismissed has been denied by a Suffolk County Supreme Court judge in Riverhead.

The lawsuit was filed May 27, 2015, by Anthony Gugliotta, who lives next to Barbara Wilson — a judge in both Southampton Town and Southampton Village. Gugliotta alleges Wilson defamed him by accusing him in a public meeting of installing a camera outside his house aimed at her teenage daughter’s bedroom.

“This means it will go to trial,” Anton J. Borovina, the Melville-based attorney for Gugliotta, said in a telephone interview Friday when he received the April 12 order.

Wilson’s attorney, Brian Lester of Amagansett, said Friday he had no comment, adding, “I haven’t seen the order yet.”

According to the lawsuit, Wilson made the accusation against Gugliotta, a luxury homebuilder, during a televised April 13, 2015, hearing before the Southampton Village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review.

The hearing was being held to discuss Wilson’s application to build an exterior staircase on her Elm Street home, and Gugliotta was among three people objecting to the project.

In making a statement “not relevant or material to the proceedings,” the lawsuit states, Wilson spoke of Gugliotta when she said, “It’s just when people bring up my daughter, it gets a little upsetting to me. Especially when grown men want to look at little girls.”

The lawsuit alleges that after the hearing, Wilson looked directly at Gugliotta and warned him to stay away from her daughter.

“Her statements were calculated to give the false impression that Mr. Gugliotta is a pedophile,” Borovina said in an interview when the lawsuit was filed. Borovina said Wilson’s intention was to intimidate anyone objecting to her staircase.

In the motion to have the lawsuit dismissed, Lester said any statements Wilson made were privileged as part of a quasi-judicial proceeding and were not defamatory and “not actionable.”

Borovina said the camera matter dates back three years when it was installed in 2013 to gather evidence when Wilson and Gugliotta were involved in a property line dispute over their shared driveway.

At one point, Wilson chained her pickup truck to a column in front of her home when Gugliotta threatened to tow it after claiming her driveway was partially on his property.

Gugliotta ended up giving Wilson easement rights allowing her to park on part of his property, and agreed to not have the camera pointed at Wilson’s living areas. Borovina said Gugliotta has since turned the camera off.

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