East Hampton to probe settlement with billionaire Duryea’s owner Marc Rowan

April 03, 2019 03:41PM

The East Hampton Town Board hired Steven Stern of Long Island law firm Stern Sokoloff to investigate a settlement between the Town Attorney’s office and Marc Rowan, the billionaire owner of outdoor dining and lobster takeout hotspot Duryea’s in Montauk, the Independent reported. Rowan, a co-founder of buyout giant Apollo Global Management, bought Duryea’s in 2014 and then tried to get town approval for a new restaurant on the site. East Hampton officials opposed the plan, so Rowan withdrew his application and took the town to court over zoning issues. The town’s soon-to-be-former attorney, Michael Sendlenski, then agreed to a settlement with Rowan. The deal allowed Rowan to run an eatery on the site at 65 Tuthill Road without calling it a restaurant as officials promised to “expedite” a new plan for Duryea’s. The settlement, however, “drew a firestorm of criticism” from local officials and residents alike, according to the Independent. Neighbors have complained that Duryea’s has changed from a serve-yourself lobster shop to a destination that draws hordes of visitors that clog roads around the establishment. East Hampton will spend $20,000 on Stern’s investigation and the town’s board has hired another lawyer, David Arnsten of Smithtown’s Devitt Spellman Barrett, to advise it on how to proceed. In the meantime, Rowan, a controversial figure on the East End who is known for his high-profile real estate investments, is looking to renovate a cottage on the site and install a new septic system to handle his more polished interpretation of Duryea’s. Rowan told the Independent that his vision for the property comports with the desires of the local community. [The Independent]