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Club Dream Owner Blames Police Activity on Retaliation

Dream, Neptune Beach clubs say they take proactive approach to curb crime.

Under pulsing neon lights at last week, a few onlookers sipping drinks watched men expertly lead their partners to salsa and meringue music. On the tented patio, groups of young locals smoked cigarettes, letting off mid-week work steam.

At first glance, the canal-side club doesn’t appear to live up to its crime-and-drug haven reputation: beefy security personnel pat down each party-goer before letting them in, and scour women's bags for drugs and weapons. But, over this summer – the first busy season since the – Dream has been under the close scrutiny of the Southampton Town Police, generating continued reports of , and .

Owner Frank Vlahadamis, who wears a tape recorder on a lanyard around his neck, hidden under his shirt, said police are retaliating against a federal lawsuit he filed over three years ago, claiming that the town targeted him because he catered to the Hispanic community at the , which he also owns. Over a year ago, the town tried to dismiss the civil rights suit, but no decision has been made yet, said Andrew Campanelli, Vlahadamis’ Mineola-based attorney.

When Southampton Town Police assumed the top role in the spring, Vlahadamis reached out to him to work together on making Dream safer, but, he never heard back, he said. Wilson said he received the message, and spoke to Vlahadamis’ attorney, but could not meet with him because of the ongoing litigation.

Wilson also said police activity at Dream is not retaliation.

“Every liquor license is held to the same standard town-wide,” Wilson said.

Vlahadamis admits there are limits to eliminating crime and violence at the club, and Campanelli said there was nothing that any club owner could have done to prevent Carlo Petrusa’s death.

“How can I address this?” Vlahadamis said. “Why don’t the police arrest them before they come here?”

, another popular, longstanding Hampton Bays club (known as Tiana Jazz in the 1960s) with , takes a different approach to the continued police presence.

“We work hand-in-hand with the police,” said Vincent Maggio, the club owner.

His club usually attracts at least one squad car as soon as it opens between noon and 1 p.m. on Saturday. Wilson said the police attention there is important because of the nearby public bathing beaches, and others along Dune Road.

Maggio ensures his staff are Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) certified, a qualification that helps bartenders spot overly intoxicated partiers or those on drugs. Brian of Port Jefferson, a bartender at Neptune for two years who declined to give his last name, said that he does not serve event-goers after seeing them visibly highly intoxicated.

“I don’t want to get tossed in hot water,” he said, adding he could be liable if someone leaves severely intoxicated.

Maggio said he also has as many as 30 security personnel for big events and on holiday weekends, a number he said is proportionate to the crowds of up to 1,500 that his business generates.

John February 12, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Part Three This is the crap that I dealt with, living there. Got pulled over, literally seconds from leaving my apt. on another occasion, just because....and by because, when I asked the SH town cop why he pulled me over, not even having a chance to reach the posted limit, he stated, “haven’t seen this car on the road before, (a mint classic 72 Mustang Mach I Fastback) and checking to make sure it was legal.Once again REALLY!? This was in the 90’s and I’m pretty damn sure they had the ability to run tags using dispatch. So why bust my balls? Because they can and that’s BULLSH#T too! Anyway, that sh%t needs to change. I can’t remember any murders, but plenty of fights and some pretty bad back in the day, which I believe was a Saturday....lol, but that was the norm. If you were drunk and being an asshole, you got your mouth shut for you. If you were drunk and cool, you had a great time. I even worked assisting security and doing stage work at club Baystreet in Sag Harbor for a bit and never seen a police presence like I have in the last decade or so. It’s outrageous, when they need better training for certain situations, WITHOUT POINTING A F’ING GUN AT A KID and needs to loosen it's grip on Nightclub owners who are just making a living doing what has been going on in HB for decades.
John February 12, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Part Five I was hit by a MORON who was too f’ing lazy to wipe the snow off the driver’s side window of the car he was driving, blocking his view of west bound traffic, broadsided the company van I was driving as he pulled out onto Good Ground road from 7-11 parking lot, pushing me into oncoming traffic. Luckily I was able to avoid a head on collision but pretty shaken up and when it was all over, low and behold it was an undocumented Spanish guy with no license or ID or papers for that matter, driving someone’s car from where he worked, trying to tell me in broken English that the damage to the van was not bad and wanted to just leave the scene, to which I said stay put and waited for SH’s finest to arrive. Upon arrival, I can hear and see the officer asking him for documents and him stating “no, no have”. When updating my boss over the cellphone, my boss wanted the guy arrested and asked me to hand the PO the phone. The officer stated “we get these several times a week and wouldn’t have the room to jail them all” and let him go, saying “don’t drive, get a ride” Are you f-ing kidding me!? If that were me, I’d have been locked up for operating a motor vehicle without a license and PAID HEAVY FINES!!! That’s bulls$%# AND HAS TO STOP! If they are not legal citizens, they should be deported and come into this country the way our ancestors did. Following this rule of thumb will accomplish two major things.
John February 12, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Part Six (1.) Allow us to get background checks on illegals that have a major criminal history to which they should be barred from ever entering the U.S. to prevent future problems on our soil, and (2.) Open jobs for American citizens, that pay taxes, by making more jobs available. But I really don’t think It will ever happen as the private prison system makes too much money off criminal activity and many rich a-holes are enjoying the cheap labor of maids and landscapers for their homes and estates and yes I’ve seen this first hand, which keeps their money right where they want it. In their bank accounts! As for the drug element, it will never go away and anyone that thinks it will is EXTREMELY naive. As long as there is a want for it, it will exist. Ron Paul is so right to want to legalize all narcotics. Just look at the past history of the Prohibition era to see where that got us and all the unecessary suffering and death that occurred back then before they finally came to their sences and said fuck it. Lets make some money for the country by taxing it. Drugs have been at the clubs 30 years ago and it will be there for another 30 years from now. Good, loving and UNDERSTANDING parenting, NOT restrictive controlling parenting, will always overcome drug abuse, more than the “Just Say No” bullshit they tried to spin years ago. People are such sheep when it comes to certain issues, really.
John February 12, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Part Four I was told personally by a SH police officer several years ago while getting a coffee at HB 7-11 after saying “Hi, quiet summer this year huh?”, as to which he replied. Yep, getting rid of the "club element" (which has been a staple for extra income earnings for many local businesses and restaurants in HB for many years) “We got Summers, Neptune's is next.” It really is a shame, as a working musician that grew up in HB, to see it going down the path it's headed. I really don’t even like to go there to visit anymore because I’m afraid of getting a ticket for something stupid like a taillight out which they would use, without sympathy, for town revenue, that does nothing but make my life harder than it already is in this downward economy. I currently own a house up island and the police here are so different, so, “for the people, by the people,” the way it should be. Always a warning or two before a ticket is given, instead of a SH court appearance, which is really one big game of “Let’s Make A Deal” just pay the attendant outside. Really, it’s qiute a joke to me now. As far as the Spanish community goes, without pulling the race card by any means, let me just say this. A few years ago while working a well established east end plumbing company,
John February 12, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Part Seven Be open and honest and results are great. Be restrictive and controlling and results can be quite the opposite. As a grandfather now, I can proudly say that we allowed our daughter to hang with friends and experiment in what they wanted to do, in a SAFE, home environment, only stepping in if I saw things get out of hand and she went through her short phase of trying different things and then was done with it. Unaffected and not lured in by the "I want to do it because I am not supposed to or allowed to" mantra, plaguing this nation. The war on drugs is one that will NEVER, EVER and I mean EVER be won. and now 27, married and enjoying motherhood for herself, I can only hope she will remember how she was raised and not do the opposite when her son becomes a curious teen. In closing: Life is short, no matter how long you live and if we could just learn to enjoy it, with all it’s ups and downs, respecting one another’s decision to be ones self, we would all be in a much better place in this world.

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