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Couples file complaints against Bayville venue to recoup wedding deposits

Families of couples who were to have their

Families of couples who were to have their dream weddings at the WaterView Club in Bayville are vowing to recoup their deposits for receptions at the now shuttered venue. Among the families are, from left, Barbara Lewis, of Hicksville, and Anna and Kurt Krass, of West Islip. (April 18, 2013) Credit: Heather Walsh

Engaged couples whose waterside wedding plans were upended last week after their Bayville venue shut down said they're committed to recouping their deposits in court.

Several met Tuesday with the Nassau County district attorney's office to file complaints against WaterView Club, which booked about 25 events for coming months before it was booted by its landlord.

Others vowed to file lawsuits, but first must find a new spot to tie the knot.

"We've had to abandon the beach idea," Joseph O'Keefe, 34, of Brooklyn, said Tuesday. "We're looking at alternate venues, but the money just hangs over everything."

He and his fiancee were scrambling for a venue to hold their 200 guests on May 26 -- doing so without the $20,000 they paid to WaterView owner Paul Burnup.

"We definitely have every intention of going after Paul and getting the money," O'Keefe said.

The American Legion, WaterView's landlord, said Burnup was evicted because he owed about $200,000 in back taxes, back rent and utility payments.

"We're hoping the brides and grooms and parties will seek justice through the legal system," said Vincent Libertini, commander of Bayville American Legion Robert H. Spittel Post 1285. "Our heart goes out to them, but we had to do what we had to do."

Burnup Tuesday would not address the eviction or refunds for events. He said in a statement, "We have been doing everything in our power to make these events take place. Unfortunately, we are not receiving the cooperation we asked for, expected and that the clients deserved."

The Nassau DA's office said it is reviewing the allegations against Burnup.

Tammy Pagnillo, 28, of Bellmore, who planned a June 22 wedding, said she and her fiance found an alternate venue, but must take out a loan to cover it after spending $13,500 on WaterView.

Diana Krass, 28, of West Islip, had beach-themed decorations made for her June 15 nuptials at WaterView. The theme may not work as well in the Mineola event hall she and her fiance booked at the last minute, Krass said.

"He's going to get papers served to him," she said of Burnup. "You just don't do business this way."

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