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Tenant, homeowner charged with renting Montauk house to 17

The home at 13 Beech Hollow Ct. in

The home at 13 Beech Hollow Ct. in Montauk, Sept. 20, 2016. Twenty people have been charged with town code violations for allegedly overcrowding the single family house. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

A $5,000 bail was set in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Monday for a Manhattan woman charged with dozens of town code violations for allegedly renting a Montauk house for the summer and then leasing out rooms and other portions of the property for as much as $1,800 per weekend.

Alina Gersham, the tenant on the lease, and Thomas Mahl, the owner of the Beech Hollow Court home, were charged with illegally renting the property to 17 people after officials executed a search warrant on Sept. 3.

Both defendants were arraigned Monday before Judge Lisa Rana and pleaded not guilty. Their next court date is Oct. 24.

Assistant Town Attorney Hope B. DeLauter asked Rana to set the $5,000 bail to ensure Gersham’s return since she has no ties to the Montauk community. No bail was sought for Mahl, who is a longtime resident of the hamlet.

“I feel like I’m being persecuted,” Mahl, a former Wall Street commodities broker, told reporters outside court after his arraignment. “I leased it out to one person. I never got any noise complaints or anything, now they say there are all of these violations.”

Edward D. Burke Jr., a Sag Harbor attorney representing Gersham, said after her arraignment that he could not comment on the allegations until he had thoroughly reviewed the case.

Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski said at the time of the raid that the single-family house has a certificate of occupancy for only three bedrooms but that investigators, including East Hampton Town police, building inspectors and fire marshals, found that the basement and pool house had been illegally converted to provide a total of nine bedrooms.

Sendlenski said other alleged infractions included violations of the town’s new rental registry law that requires a landlord to notify the building department when the number of tenants changes and when new rental periods begin and end.

Other charges included the alleged selling of shares, no smoke detectors, building without a permit, conversion of the house from single to multi-family use and improper egress for bedrooms in the basement.

Most of the other defendants in the case also appeared in court Monday and entered not guilty pleas themselves or through their attorneys and were given return dates. In addition to Gersham and Mahl they were identified as: Alec Andronikov; Nicole Arnot; Audry Cady; Jean Chaffel; William Chin; Elizabeth Cunningham; Pericles Ducas; Anya Estrov; Kathryn Freund; Patrick Gigante; Alexander Goldberg; Alison Heyden; Eric Kubecka; Lindsey Lefelhoc; Joan Osterwalder; Zivile Rezgyte; and Lillian Stoner.

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