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Jun 4, 2015 5:26 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Neighbor Slaps Southampton Justice With Defamation Suit Over Remarks, Wilson Withdraws Application

A property dispute betwwen Justice Barbara Wilson and Tony Gugliotta, which stated in April of 2013, has escalated to a defamation lawsuit filed by Mr. Gugliotta last week.
Editor's Note:

To listen to Ms. Wilson's comments, advance the video below to the 1:34:22 mark.

Jun 9, 2015 1:02 PM

UPDATE, TUESDAY 11 A.M.:

Ms. Wilson withdrew her application from consideration at Monday night's Village Architectural Review Board meeting without comment. On Tuesday morning, Ms. Wilson said she "wasn't ready to go forward" with it.



ORIGINAL STORY:

A neighbor of Justice Barbara Wilson is suing the judge for defamation and slander, saying she accused him of being a sexual predator and pedophile during a Southampton Village Architectural Review Board meeting in April.

Tony Gugliotta, who lives next door to Ms. Wilson—who serves on both the Southampton Town and Southampton Village justice courts—on Elm Street in the village, filed a lawsuit last week in State Supreme Court seeking $2.2 million in damages on two counts, plus attorney’s fees.

“What was said was most unfortunate and inexcusable,” said attorney Anton J. Borovina, representing Mr. Gugliotta. “This was not done by a layman but by an attorney and a judge. It was televised. In 10 years from now, people will see it, because it’s online. Anyone who cares can assess for themselves.”

The action is the latest in an ongoing feud between the two neighbors, who have been at odds over their shared property line and, most recently, a proposed exterior staircase in Ms. Wilson’s backyard.

A sore point between the two has grown over the years, however. Mr. Gugliotta installed a camera on his house pointing at Ms. Wilson's driveway during their property line feud. It still remains, although it has been offline, according to Mr. Gugliotta.

At the ARB meeting on April 13, Mr. Gugliotta and other neighbors voiced opposition to the application. Ms. Wilson, who was stating her case for the need to build an exterior staircase behind her home, alleged that Mr. Gugliotta had installed a security camera on his house that pointed directly at her daughter’s bedroom window.

“Since he’s so concerned about my daughter, I will be enforcing the settlement we entered into. His camera is not supposed to be on my daughter’s bedroom window,” she said. “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 states that after the meeting was adjourned, Ms. Wilson raised her voice and looked directly at Mr. Gugliotta and said, “You better stay away from my daughter!” in front of those at the meeting and watching on TV.

Ms. Wilson, on Thursday afternoon, said she could not comment, referring questions to her attorney, Brian Lester of Amagansett, who did not return calls for comment.

“Mr. Gugliotta wants to vindicate what was said,” Mr. Borovina said. “He wants recognition from jury that a defamation occurred, which injured his reputation. The remarks made were false, and the client wants jury to award monetary damages.”

Mr. Gugliotta is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and $100,000 punitive damages for slander, and another $1 million in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages for libel, since the comments were recorded on camera and broadcast.

Mr. Borovina said the camera has never been pointed at Ms. Wilson's house. He said Mr. Gugliotta did take the camera down at one point but then put it back up but didn't connect it.

In April 2013, Ms. Wilson chained her Dodge Dakota truck to her yellow Toyota SUV, then chained both vehicles to a column on her front porch to stake her claim on a small piece of Ms. Wilson’s Elm Street driveway that Mr. Gugliotta said is on his property. She had said that Mr. Gugliotta threatened to tow away her SUV because he wanted to landscape the small sliver of land that he said was his.

Ms. Wilson claimed adverse possession, or “squatter’s rights,” which allows a person to claim title to property that he or she has used for a period of years. Mr. Borovina said Mr. Gugliotta eventually conceded, as the owner of the sliver of land, that she had an easement and she could continue to park on it.

"It was done cooperatively at that point," he said. "They were on a first name basis."

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don't see a slander just a concerned mother
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 4, 15 7:58 PM
If I stated my opinion of this man, is that freedom of speech, or would he sue me too?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 4, 15 8:24 PM
3 members liked this comment
Pretty cavalier comment i.e. irresponsible for an elected official and a judge no less to be throwing that accusation around. She should know better and behave better both inside and outside a courtroom.
By Setsubun (6), Southampton on Jun 9, 15 12:30 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 4, 15 8:26 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Jun 4, 15 11:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 5, 15 8:19 AM
A Judge/Justice (with any common sense) should avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Also the SHP never bothered to follow up on the story about the chained up vehicles. Anyone know what the outcome of that embarrassment was?
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Jun 5, 15 8:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
Wilson has acted with such entitlement and with little regard for the process at the ARB over the past six months. I am amazed that Mr. Highsmith has allowed her to behave in ways that are not proper. I would never vote for her again. She is way out of line. The neighbors opposing her "deck/stairway" have been made to wait endlessly while Ms. Wilson fails to prove her case at every meeting. It is shameful behavior from one who should know better. People in power in the village take liberties ...more
By localcitizen (110), Southampton on Jun 5, 15 8:42 AM
Obviously you are not a "local resident" with many years residency to back you up. I lived on Elm Street in the years of Barbara's grandparents.. you know when neighbors knew each other for more than 40 years. yes that driveway was shared those many years ago. I imagine it was shared in the late 1930's certainly in the 1940's when I walked past every day on my way to school or just 'down street'.
It is a shame when the newbies look for and buy the cheapest property in the village, or the environs, ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 12, 15 4:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yeah I feel bad for Big Barb, seems like because of her high profile she attracts too much attention. I am very familiar with the area, those houses are right on top of each other already, a glorified fire escape doesn't change much. The worst part is the 'neighbors' are probably in those homes a few weekends a year. Just rent those units out and grab a nice spot closer to the bay Big B. At least you wont a bunch of drunks stumbling out of the clubs down the street.
By Genuin (26), Hampton Bays on Jun 13, 15 10:51 PM
Any chance the Press will post the video? Anyone know where we can access it? I'd love to see it.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jun 5, 15 9:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
The relevant part of the video starts at 1:15 and the "alleged" defamatory statements at about 1:34 to 1:37.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jun 6, 15 7:54 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jun 5, 15 10:48 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 5, 15 2:51 PM
www.southamptonvillage.org

Then Board Meeting Videos on the first page of the website
or scroll down the list and hit YouTube page.

By localcitizen (110), Southampton on Jun 6, 15 11:33 AM
Come on people the lady just wants a set of stairs for her legal second story apartment on her house. Some of you people act like she is being unreasonable. This is ridiculous that the ARB is acting so arbitrary on a simple set of stairs. Shameful politics to judge who has helped so many!
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 6, 15 5:52 PM
From the look of it that stair money is now going to lawyer money jar.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jun 6, 15 6:34 PM
And this obnoxious judge blocked her neighbor from erecting a fence on HIS property! The guy buys a property, improves it and a judge is pullling up survey markers becasue she feels like it?
By Setsubun (6), Southampton on Jun 8, 15 10:59 AM
Let's see...Neighbor buys a house within past two years on a "very narrow lot and close to his neighbors" so he can work on very "expensive cars". Ms. Wilson ought to file suit the first time he test starts one and needlessly exceeds village approved decibel levels. He should also be careful not to work at night with a light on or use a loud sander when he does body repair. Another recently installed neighbor two houses away,repeat, two houses away voiced her claim a lighted stairway will negatively ...more
By dotgov (3), Southampton on Jun 7, 15 4:34 PM
2 members liked this comment
there is a picture in another publication today which clearly shows the camera pointed at the Wilson home
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 8, 15 10:21 AM
This judge is way out of line and out of control. Were she not a political figure, Mr. Gugliotta would have long since had his fence up. This appears to be a case of intimidation by a political figure who should not only know better, but should be held to the highest standard. Pulling up survey markers and now insinutating her neighbor is some kind of pervert is way above and beyond. Is this the standard of behavior we want or expect from town officials?
By Setsubun (6), Southampton on Jun 8, 15 11:00 AM
Setsuban. In regards to the last line of your comment - the answer is yes of course in regards to expecting.... If you are new here you will get used to it.
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 8, 15 11:54 AM
It is my understanding that the driveway had been shared amicably for years until the new owner came along who isn't interested in sharing.
By Crabby (63), Southampton on Jun 8, 15 1:17 PM
I remember poring over the surveys of the properties when they were published. Gugliotta is not in the right, and the bearings on the maps show it.
Jun 8, 15 9:50 PM appended by Mr. Z
And, if you do take a good look at the maps, Mr. Gugliotta owns less of his own driveway than Judge Wilson allegedly does her own. And, the bearings of the alleged property lines and the exterior walls of the homes are not parallel. At all...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 8, 15 9:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
BTW, Judge Wilson's lot is narrower in the front, than in the rear because someone [expletive deleted] up when they built the Gugliotta house. If the property was the same width front and rear, Mr. Gugliotta's home would be on Judge Wilson's property...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 8, 15 10:09 PM
Shhh! She owns a chain saw...
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jun 8, 15 10:44 PM
Just curious why you were "poring over the surveys of the properties?" In any case, pulling up survey markers and chaining her car in the driveway is not the mark of a good neighbor or town official. You seem to be putting a biased cart before your adoration for the honorable horse's behind.
By Setsubun (6), Southampton on Jun 9, 15 12:38 PM
2 members liked this comment
http://www.27east.com/news/article.cfm/Southampton-Village-Surrounding-Areas/457065/Judge-Barbara-Wilson-Disputes-With-Neighbor-Over-Property-Line
Jun 9, 15 9:23 PM appended by Mr. Z
There is no bias. It's a simple, critical look at the evidence. The bearing for the south side of Wilson's property was adjusted to accommodate the house next door. The lot should be even front and rear, yet the lot is two feet shorter in the front than the rear. If you look at the bearings, and the line it's pretty apparent someone screwed up when they built the house next door to Judge Wilson. If the front and rear of the Wilson lot were the same width (which they should be), the Gugliotta house would be on her property.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 9, 15 9:23 PM
That's an interesting "if" but the crux of this particular matter concerns the judge's present behavior, not survey results. The latter matter can and should be worked out in court if both parties cannot settle the matter amicably, which, sadly, they apparently cannot. My survey indicates having a town official insinuate a resident is a pervert "when grown men want to look at little girls” crosses far outside all boundary lines.
By Setsubun (6), Southampton on Jun 10, 15 11:57 AM
1 member liked this comment
So, first you inquire about the amiability of the relationship, and explanation is offered, and then you deflect that it's not important. Ah well...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 10, 15 10:07 PM
Yes, I did inquire, but did not deflect. The underlying matter, while important, and the reason they were in court, is important. You answered my survey inquiry. But, again, that is not the crux of the matter now, is it? Ah well...
By Setsubun (6), Southampton on Jun 11, 15 10:05 AM
Actually, it is.

The matter of two feet of driveway is the crux of it all. Everything else has just carried on via escalation.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 11, 15 8:27 PM
fences and hedges make good neighbors as the old saying goes
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 8, 15 6:08 PM
One of my neighbors stone gate posts was mistakenly installed on my property. No big deal.
By Crabby (63), Southampton on Jun 8, 15 7:55 PM
It will be when you try to sell.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 8, 15 9:37 PM
This judge is such a mess. She has no class on the bench and obviously not in life general.
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on Jun 8, 15 10:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why does he have a camera pointed at their house?
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jun 9, 15 5:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Some questions:
Why didn't he raise the issue of the 18 inch driveway portion when he purchased the property?
What was so "neighborly" about having to deny a driveway use so you can landscape those 18 inchese
What necessitated the cam8ra be placed on a property line that can only view a neighbor? What troubles him about her asking to put a deck that he can only be seen by the camera? What continues to trouble him when she rescinds that request and asks for a simple stairwell? Ah! ...more
By dotgov (3), Southampton on Jun 11, 15 8:13 AM
Probably because he knew he was going to fight the case and hoped to win anyway.
You know years ago when some newbie wanted to move into Southampton they had to prove to the town authorities that they had a trade, a business to pursue, and promised to live according to the local laws for three years. After that, living without any fuss, the family was accepted by the town.
I found that interesting piece while researching local history in the Rogers Library.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 12, 15 5:02 PM
Considering the Town is celebrating its 375th birthday, be a "newbie" too and join the 21st century. What a condescending attitude you have. You remind me of Barbara Wilson when she tells the ARB board that she should be treated special because she is a year round resident and not some interloper from up island or some young week-end couple from NYC. Makes you wonder how justice is meted out in her courtrooms.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jun 13, 15 11:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
My family and I are not newbies. Our line goes back to Halsey, Sayre, Foster among others. There are lots of true locals still living in "the Hamptons" and of course the really true locals the Shinnecock indians living on the reservation.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 18, 15 9:13 AM
Some questions:
Why didn't he raise thecissue of thea18 inch driveway portion when he purchased the property?
What was so "neighborly" about having to deny a driveway use so you can landscape those 18 inches
What necessitated he camera be placed on a property line that can only view a neighbor? What troubles him about her asking to put a deck that he can only be seen by the camera? What continues to trouble him when she rescinds that request and asks for a simple stairwell? Ah! ...more
By dotgov (3), Southampton on Jun 11, 15 8:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
All these questions address nothing about the essential issues apart from the slanderous attack on his person and reputation. Are those 18 inches on his property or not? If they are his property rights demand that she not use his property should he find it objectionable.

After all, he did buy his property and has all the right to use it legally and should be entitled to all that accrues to a property owner. It seems to me all your questions are irrelevant to his property rights and the ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jun 12, 15 1:10 AM
You are speaking out of turn and obviously are not really obbservant.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 12, 15 5:06 PM
Could you be more specific than glib?
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jun 15, 15 2:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
It seems that his suing is going to make this story much larger than it was. He's worried about people hearing what she said, yet most people never heard it until he sued.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jun 11, 15 10:43 PM
Mr. Gugliotta is the stuff of lawyers' dreams. He's p.o.'d, so he hires a lawyer to show how p.o.'d he is - - - a lawyer who will be happy to bill Mr. Gugliotta for all the dollars that he is willing to expend in the salving of his amour propre - - - but one who surely realizes that his professional services will be feckless.

The clear fact, as reported, is that Judge Wilson did NOT accuse Mr. Gugliotta of being a "sexual predator and pedophile" as he claims, and the law doesn't protect ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 12, 15 8:44 AM
2 members liked this comment
I have the utmost highest regard for Honorable Judge Barbara Wilson. Having my son go before her bench was the best teaching experience. She is fair and is in total support of what goes on in our community. She is a mentor to many, helping them do better and make a change in their lives. She supports many functions here in the village, town and in the schools. Let us not forget this!
By tj (2), southampton on Jun 12, 15 2:33 PM
Justice Wilson is a clueless bias judge and I feel sorry for anyone she mentored. Her community functions she attends are only to gain votes. She supports the rich and crushes the middle class and poor with her unfair rulings. I commend Mr. Gugliotta for challenging Wilson. If she can't act reasonable with her own neighbors she is grossly unqualified to be a judge.
By ridge (1), southampton on Jun 22, 15 8:07 PM
Finally someone I can agree with! And let us remember this man has tormented the Judge for far too long. He was wrong in the first place and so was his real estate agent.. oh just a minute maybe the buyer kept his intentions secret.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 12, 15 5:10 PM
You're right summertime, this guy is an idiot. Rather than work it out civilly, he chained his cars together in the driveway over the disputed property, and posted notes threatening legal action if the vehicles were moved in any way. What a jerk! Even worse I hear he is politically connected so I'm sure no one will risk messing with him!
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Jun 12, 15 5:55 PM
You have it wrong Arnold ... It was Barbara that had chained her cars .
By AndersEn (174), Southampton on Jun 12, 15 7:28 PM
Oh right. So is she the jerk?
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Jun 16, 15 9:14 PM
Does no one recognize sarcasm???
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Jun 16, 15 9:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
So many people with something to say.... I have seen many post here that are so out of line ... so far off the track. Probably lots of people with no back ground in real estate law, so many with no knowledge of Elm Street shooting off their big mouth.
I bet that when Barbara sounded off at that boorish man she was just pushed to the limit. But haven't all of us had such moments? Knowing Barbara I bet she would have been willing to let him share as the previous owners had done.
When he ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 13, 15 9:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
You have again made so many statements none of which involve facts. They're all opinions. Why don't you back up your statements with the laws that the man was supposed to be violating, and support your statement with facts about why he was wrong.

Then we can take your comments seriously.
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jun 15, 15 3:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
Barbara Wilson is the provocateur. She chained the cars, she insinuated the
neighbor is a pedophile. She feels entitled to have a deck which two other neighbors also object to so please get your facts straight. I am happy that at least for now, Judge Wilson has pulled herself out of a mess she created. I applaud
her for doing so.
By localcitizen (110), Southampton on Jun 14, 15 4:38 PM
She is entitled to have a set of stairs. Where does it say in the constitution that your property rights extend into your neighbors yard? Big mouth busy bodies.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 16, 15 7:20 PM
Facts? There is one .. In the 1940's I lived just north of the houses in question. Many times I walked past them and the driveway in question. The piece of land was shared by both homeowners by common consent.
The difference here is that section of the village was occupied by year round residents ie: the blue collar worker.
So now the question is, did the new owner know the property lines before he bought the property?
Simple fact.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 18, 15 9:26 AM
"So now the question is, did the new owner know the property lines before he bought the property? Simple fact."

Summertime, first of all, that is no fact, that's a question. Facts clarify questions. You clarified nothing and increased the questions.

Secondly, the question is irrelevant to the issue. Whether or not he knew the property lines, that knowledge doesn't eviscerate his legal property rights to enjoy his inherent his domain. This abusive Justice (of all people or in Southampton ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jun 19, 15 7:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
You must not know the law. When a person buys real property it is incumbent upon the purchaser to ascertain the lot lines and secure a map of said property that has been filed with the legal authority for his/her own protection.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 19, 15 9:16 PM
Whether or not he did his due diligence to the max, he had every right to expect the specifications on the sale offering was correct. Not exactly knowing the property lines when he bought it doesn't give the weird Justice the right to expropriate it.

Besides you're wrong. She had a survey done and markers were placed confirming those precise property lines, and they became the basis for wanting to fence his property. She has absolutely no right to prevent him from deciding, as long as it ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jun 20, 15 3:47 AM
I thought he even offered to redo her driveway too.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jun 20, 15 9:57 AM
It would indeed be in order if Barbara Wilson could prove the survey lines were faulty and they intruded into her property. But obviously she herself verified them and consequently she never challenged them. She just didn't like them and like a thug, simply pulled the markers out so he didn't have to be reminded everyday that she's expropriating his property for her driveway.

For a judge, a judge, to completely ignore property rights and the law and totally abuse her influential "privileges" ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jun 20, 15 6:37 PM
According to June 21 article in a Long Island News Daily paper:

"As part of a settlement reached that year[2013], Gugliotta gave Wilson easement rights that allowed her to park on part of his property, and at Wilson's request he agreed that the camera would not be pointed at any of Wilson's living areas. After the settlement, Borovina said his client turned off the camera, though it remains attached to his house. "...

So there is no more driveway issue as some contend on here ...more
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jun 21, 15 3:44 PM
It was reported that Gugliotta earlier wanted to fence his property but it was objected to by Wilson. Consequently, she chained her car(s) with threats of lawsuits should it/they be removed, presumably by Gugliotta.

That doesn't seem to indicate a settlement or a decision by Gugliotta to allow her to use his 18 inches of property along the length of the boundary between them. Those reports indicate that dispute is ongoing and if any such initial accommodation (if true) was offered, that ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jun 21, 15 10:10 PM