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Oct 10, 2019 3:50 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Misdemeanor Charged After Real Estate Moguls Have A Fight In East Hampton Village

Andrew Saunders.      PRESS FILE
Oct 15, 2019 2:25 PM

Jeffrey Collé — the development mogul behind constructing and designing homes for celebrities like Billy Joel, Alec Baldwin and Donna Karan — pleaded not guilty in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Thursday morning after being arraigned on misdemeanor assault charges.

Saunders & Associates CEO Andrew Saunders and Mr. Collé, of Estates by Jeffrey Collé, got into a physical and verbal altercation on the evening of Thursday, October 3, at the East Hampton Grill on North Main Street in East Hampton, according to reports filed with East Hampton Village Police.

According to the police report, Mr. Saunders entered the East Hampton Grill at around 6:40 p.m. with his wife, Colleen.

Mr. Saunders, 56, had seen Mr. Collé, 60, standing near the entrance to the bathroom as he walked into the restaurant. Court documents said witnesses — the manager of the East Hampton Grill, William Falcheck, and Ms. Saunders — said Mr. Collé “lunged” at Mr. Saunders, striking him in the upper left thigh, then stated, “Hey, sorry,” in a sarcastic manner.

“I felt I needed to protect myself,” Mr. Saunders said in a statement to East Hampton Village Police. “I struck him in the face with my left hand in self-defense.”

Ms. Saunders told police that Mr. Collé was screaming and that she tried to break up the fight, according to the documents. The two men were separated by other employees of the restaurant and by the manager, Mr. Falcheck, the documents said.

Mr. Saunders told police that he and Mr. Collé had done real estate business together in the past. In fact, on September 27 at the East Hampton Grill, Mr. Collé and Mr. Saunders had another minor altercation. Mr. Saunders said in his statement that Mr. Collé aggressively asked for money he claimed Mr. Saunders owed him.

A statement said that the manager was on the phone at 6:53 p.m. working at the maître d’ stand when he saw Mr. Collé walk toward Mr. Saunders, “drop his shoulder, and forcefully check” Mr. Saunders, pushing him against the maître d' stand. Mr. Falcheck told police that Mr. Saunders hit Mr. Collé in self-defense, and that Mr. Collé knocked Mr. Saunders’s glasses off his face.

Mr. Falcheck said he then escorted Mr. Collé out of the restaurant and asked him not to return again.

East Hampton Village Police Lieutenant Gregory Brown said there was a walk-in complaint about the fight the following day, October 4.

In court, Mr. Collé’s attorney, Joseph Conway, told Justice Lisa Rana that Mr. Collé had been acting in self-defense and that he and his client were waiting for police to review a security video taken at the East Hampton Grill.

Justice Rana issued an order of protection against Mr. Collé stating he should not come into contact with Mr. Saunders or his wife for a year by any means of communication — text, mail or in person — and must surrender any firearms.

Mr. Collé signed the order of protection and is scheduled to return to court on November 21.

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