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Suit: Officials conspired to remove Southampton golf manager

The Poxabogue Golf Center in Sagaponack. Southampton officials

The Poxabogue Golf Center in Sagaponack. Southampton officials face a lawsuit alleging they conspired to terminate the manager's licencing agreement. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

A federal lawsuit filed last week claims Southampton officials and police conspired to terminate the licensing agreement of a PGA professional to manage the town-owned Poxabogue Golf Center after he was accused of inappropriately photographing a teenager.

The lawsuit filed in the Eastern District on May 30 by the professional, Steven Lee of Ronkonkoma, claimed two golf instructors who had worked for him, Eric Schultzel and Rob Corcoran, also conspired to take over the Sagaponack golf course.

A Suffolk County Court jury acquitted Lee, 51, of unlawful surveillance last year. Prosecutors said Lee had photographed the girl from an opaque office window at the golf center’s pro shop and then showed the photo to others. The lawsuit does not dispute Lee took the photo, but said the window was transparent, Lee was in a heavily trafficked area when he took it and the photo does not show the girl’s face.

The suit says Schultzel began managing the course in October 2015 after the town terminated Lee’s contract. In December of that year, the town awarded an eight-year operating agreement to another management company not affiliated with Schultzel or Corcoran.

The Town of Southampton, Southampton police, management services administrator Russell Kratoville, Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato and police sergeant William Kiernan are among those named as defendants in the lawsuit. Schultzel and Corcoran are also named as defendants.

Lee’s attorney Patricia M. Meisenheimer was not available to comment, according to her Islandia law firm, MargolinBesunder. Schultzel declined to comment and Corcoran could not be reached for comment.

Southampton town officials and police referred requests for comment to the town attorney’s office, which did not return calls.

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