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Jun 15, 2011 9:49 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Officials Dispute New York Post Allegations

Jun 15, 2011 4:14 PM

A blistering weekend article in the New York Post about Nello Summertimes, a Southampton Village nightspot, prompted village officials and people familiar with the situation this week to dispute allegations in the article, including that private security firms headed by local police officers overlooked illegal activities at the club.

The article, published on Sunday, depicts a wild scene at the nightclub witnessed by a Post reporter, in which drug use and underage drinking were observed—and were ignored by off-duty police officers at the club. Citing anonymous sources, the article claimed that security at the Main Street bar and restaurant was provided by a firm headed by Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. when he was chief of the Southampton Village Police Department and, later, by a firm headed by his wife, Deana Wilson. It linked that arrangement and lax security at the club, saying the police routinely turned “a blind eye” toward the illegal activity at the club: “With police virtually on the payroll, Nello operates with seeming impunity, critics charge.”

Chief Wilson and Ms. Wilson, both of whom said they did not speak with Post reporters, rejected the claims, saying neither had ever done business with Nello’s. Chief Wilson, who called the story’s statements about him and his wife “pure fabrication,” said Tuesday night he and his wife were consulting with their attorney regarding what he said were false statements in the article.

Others familiar with the running of the club—including the general manager at Nello’s during the time in question, Zach Erdem—confirmed that the couple’s firms were not employed by the club owners.

A private firm, CM Security Consulting, led by its president, Charles McArdle, a former Southampton Town Police detective and former head of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, performed security at Nello’s from Memorial Day weekend until Wednesday morning. “They didn’t verify any of their allegations,” Mr. McArdle said Tuesday of the Post article.

The allegations in the article regarding underage drinking and drug use in the club were not true, Mr. McArdle said, and he defended his security policies, noting that patrons must show two IDs at the door to gain entry, and saying that customers are routinely ejected for illegal activity.

Mr. McArdle confirmed on Wednesday morning that his firm would no longer provide security for the club, saying that he and the other owners of the company decided to distance the firm from the club. He said the company would stick with providing security for special events and valet parking. “We will just focus on our forté,” he said. He declined to say whether the move had anything to do with the Post article.

Mr. Erdem, who managed Nello’s from its 2004 inception until last year, when he bought 75 Main, a restaurant down the street, said Tuesday that the Wilsons were not involved in the security at Nello’s during his six-year tenure. He went on to say that he did not even know the Wilsons. “Mr. Wilson, I never met him,” he said. “I’ve never seen him and I never heard his name. And also his wife—I have no clue who his wife is. I’ve never seen them work for us.”

The Post article claims that the Wilsons provided security for the club for the first five years of its operation. It attributes the information to “sources” who are never identified.

According to Chief Wilson, he ran a security company prior to being named Village Police chief in 2006, at which time he folded the company as part of an agreement with the Village Board. His wife began a separate security firm following that. But neither firm was ever contracted by the nightclub, the Wilsons and Mr. Erdem all said.

“I had my own guys,” Mr. Erdem said when asked who provided security at Nello’s in those years. “Some of them still work with me in my restaurant.” He said his security crews were his friends, some local and some from up-island. Only for a short, unspecified time did off-duty police officers play a role in security there, he said, but the Wilsons were never involved. He declined to identify the officers and did not say which police department or departments they worked for.

Nello Balan, the owner of his eponymous business, did not return requests for comment this week. But Darren Gagnon, a Southampton Village Police sergeant who said he is a friend of Mr. Balan, said the club owner had his own security crews from New York City work at the village bar. Sgt. Gagnon also dismissed as false the claims that the Wilsons played a role at Nello’s.

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By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jun 15, 11 4:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you Editor and Ms. Reynolds for the detailed follow-up story.

It would be helpful in general to know what the current SHV PD rules regarding secondary employment are, and what personnel they apply to.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 15, 11 4:43 PM
The relationship is so tight, sources said, that when trouble erupts at the club, 911 calls are routed by the dispatcher directly to Nello's private security detail instead of patrol.

For the first five years of Summertimes' operation, Nello's security was provided by two firms: first a private company headed by Billy Wilson, then chief of the Southampton Village Police Department, and later a firm owned by Wilson's wife, Deana, sources said.

In May, Billy Wilson took over as Southampton ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jun 15, 11 6:58 PM
davidf (133)

The article above covered your alleged points in considerable detail, and various people have stepped forth to challenge the accuracy of the NY Post article.

If you are going to post "copy and paste" material from somewhere, please indicate that you are doing this.

Do you have any new factual evidence to post here, based on your own personal knowledge of events which you actually witnessed?

Thank you.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 15, 11 7:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
You must have ties with the security firm
By 3k (7), easthampton on Jun 16, 11 5:58 AM
This should be interesting.

Most likely even more so than it already is...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 15, 11 7:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 15, 11 7:31 PM
Tip of the iceberg no doubt...Security from whom?
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jun 15, 11 8:38 PM
Nello's absolutely admits and serves underage kids and has done so for years while nothing has been done about it. The police have to be either blind or covering up to say otherwise. It's disgusting. I know someone who took a drink out of a 15 year old's hand after she was served alcohol there a few summers ago and I know of 18 year olds that were just in there recently. This is not a new problem. The young ones in my family agree that "Nello's been notorious for letting everybody in" and that, ...more
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jun 15, 11 9:22 PM
We all know which side Rupert's Rag is on, but I never thought the Post would stoop to sliming a local cop in order to discredit the town officials who appointed him and thereby help the Southampton Republicans (who admittedly need all the help they can get these days). Seems like small bait for a big fish like Rupert. Maybe just a coincidence, but on the other hand, why would the Post fabricate something about Bill Wilson, if not for political reasons? Curious.
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Jun 15, 11 9:33 PM
Do you have proof that the charges against Wison are fabricated? Didn't think so.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Jun 17, 11 8:02 PM
Where's our fearless HH Size?! I wait until he gives me the FACTS before I DECIDE, he's like Fox news!
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 15, 11 9:38 PM
Sounds like the same disgruntlted fired cop/s just trying to stir the pot with lies and other bs..and of course "The New York Post" is all over it!!! I'll make a bet right now. 10 grand to whoever can: #1 find one person who really actually takes whatever they read in "The Post" seriously on a day to day basis and #2: Find ONE CLUB ANYWHERE in THE WORLD (yes, i know what "world" entails), where there is absolutley NO underage drinking or some form of drug use. Good luck with both....How is this ...more
By srk (15), southampton on Jun 15, 11 11:20 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Michael Wright (25), Southampton on Jun 15, 11 11:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
I wonder if the staff calls 911 when they have a problem, or just call the cop on the beat that night on his/her cell phone.
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Jun 16, 11 1:31 AM
Charlie McCardle? The same PBA Cop who got nailed breaking into (then) Chief Overtons safe? If he is involved then there is a story here. Dig deeper. Maybe
take a close look at where the drugs in SHV come from? Or is that hitting too close to home?
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 16, 11 7:23 AM
In reply to the post by PBR regarding SHV PD rules , since the new interm chief has been busy perhaps there are no really "neew" rules yet.
The past history stands clear and I defend it to the bitter end.
To keep taxes low the pay for patrolmen has been almost subsistance level as prices in Southampton go; so everyone accepted the fact that in the summer the police moonlighted as security at the Beach Crowd's events. Sounds logical and was accepted as far back as the need for local police ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 16, 11 8:12 AM

What do you think would be a fair salary for a patrolman in Southampton?
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jun 16, 11 1:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
Southampton Village Police are a joke and always have been. They are the equivalent of rent a cops! The entire force should be disbanded. It has served as one big local political patronage mill for decades.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Jun 17, 11 8:06 PM
To SRK: This is a real story because Nello's has been flaunting regulations for years without consequences. Neighbor's can't sleep on weekends due to its noise and patrons yelling outside of it, fights roll down the street, dealers duck down nearby driveways to make exchanges, and underage kids get in and are served regularly, in spite of ALL claims to the contrary. It's a mess. Something's clearly amiss.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jun 16, 11 8:47 AM
2 members liked this comment
Billy Wilson has always and continues to maintain close ties to Restaurant Owners, Club Owners and Club Promoters. As a Sergeant in the Village Police he was a noticeable fixture (providing security off duty) at the Tavern on Tuckahoe Lane. He even made it into "The Hampton s Magazine 'The List' "Everybody knows it. The Nelo connection is just a symptom of a larger problem. He is slick a slippery enough to get paid in cash to avoid any paper trail. The old adage "admit nothing, deny everything ...more
By Scooby (12), Southampton on Jun 16, 11 9:45 AM
Wow! And I thought the Post was sliming Bill Wilson. Old Scooby could teach Rupert's Rag a lot about character assassination. You say "demand proof." What if we demand proof from you, Scooby? Have you got it?
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Jun 16, 11 11:10 AM
I do fidelis and then some; fear not for you Southampton Idol and Hero. I was thinking of creating Hasbro action figures designed after Southampton Officials. You can give them to your friends during the holiday. Just like the Hess Truck.
By Scooby (12), Southampton on Jun 16, 11 1:56 PM
Sounds to me like, Scooby (I keep wanting to call you Chris for some reason???), like you have some sort of personal grudge against Chief Wilson! [Slick and slippery, really? I thought terms like that were saved for people who get 911 disability for no reason at all...] Throwing around allegations while hiding behind a cartoon character screen name gives no weight to your story and I doubt that you have any more proof than the "source" who fed fabricated information to the NY Post about who provided ...more
By Tired of the Ignorance (4), Southampton on Jun 16, 11 2:49 PM
Confucius say man with only 2 blog posts must be the Chief of Police himself posting!
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Jun 17, 11 12:37 PM
Sorry to disappoint but I do not have the proper anatomy to be Chief Wilson. And before you suggest it, i am not his wife, mother, aunt, child, best friend, cousin etc. Just Tired of seeing people's reputations dragged through the mud because others screwed up, got in trouble ad can't get their way.
PS. I don't recall ever reading that Confucius said that... Another baseless accusation!
By Tired of the Ignorance (4), Southampton on Jun 17, 11 3:20 PM
Most likely not.

Have you ever heard of Redd Foxx?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 17, 11 9:15 PM
to Nature:

The charge that police officers use their status to enable underage substance abuse is serious. It should be investigated by the appropriate authorities, the SLA and the NYS AG. Self-serving pronouncements by parties with a vested interest have no credibility.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 16, 11 2:52 PM
2 members liked this comment
I dont know, but I think that a police chief of a village or a town is compensated enough where they dont need to run a business on the side. He is paid well and his full focus should be on his town job. Also, isnt it a conflict of interest to have police officers work at bar establishments? Especially when you work in the village that the bar is in. To much funny business for me!!!
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jun 16, 11 8:50 PM
I would imagine you are right about the Chief but in my post I was referring to the lowly man on the beat. As to what I think should be an adequate wage now I have no idea. Well, I'll bet $75,000 to cover a family of 4 may do it.... BUT I do not have a clue as to what is low enough to put clothes on everyone's back etc. Actually what is a rental for a small house say, 1500 sq. ft?
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 16, 11 9:03 PM
The lowest paid officers (not sergeants, not detectives, but the lowest rank) - Make $90,000 a year. After 5 years it averages $160,000, after 8 years pay averages $180,000.

Making sergeant or detective pushes salaries up into the $215,000 range.

Poor guys, no wonder they need second "conflict of interest jobs".
Jun 16, 11 9:12 PM appended by RealityFirst
You can knock $5 to $8k off those salaries since for some reason employer paid FICA taxes were included in the compensation calculation. Also, after 5 years they get 6 weeks of vacation and 2.5 weeks of sick time a year.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jun 16, 11 9:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
By the way, $180,000 is a higher annual salary than governors in 45 states make, higher than a 4 star general or fleet admiral with 20 years experience, and higher than the average salary of a US Senator.
Jun 16, 11 9:25 PM appended by RealityFirst
I used the term "salary", which is inaccurate. I'm referring to the total pay package.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jun 16, 11 9:25 PM
What?!!!!!!!!!! Aare you for real .... for once?! When can I apply? would my age be inmy favor? After all i have lots of experience! lol
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 18, 11 7:34 AM
the life expectancy of a police officer after retirement - because of stress, changing shift work and other factors is currently 15-17 years less than non-police officers in retirement. Perhaps its not as stressful around the hamptons, but the job is still one of the few that I know of where you could easily be shot or killed in another way in the normal course of your day. funny, not sure any of us can even relate to that. so summertime, sure you can apply yuk, yuk, yuk, but the class warfare ...more
By kaluss (113), Southampton on Jun 18, 11 11:37 AM
So, remind us again what NYC cops, who are at FAR higher risk, earn?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 20, 11 6:45 PM
And you know, as much as i look at the tiny picture in this post i can hardly recognize where Nelo's is. You say it is a Main Street Bar and restaurant. That sidewalk does not look like Main more like Elm to me. Pretty soon I'll be up there for my summer visit... Then I will see what y'all are talkin' bout. I love telling my friends here that I summer in the Hamptons!
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 16, 11 9:08 PM
Is that The Post House!
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 16, 11 9:09 PM
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jun 16, 11 10:16 PM
thank you V. Of course now it is clear. Well we all know there's a lot of bar history there.
The thing is no one has answered my question as to how much the average rental for a house of 1500 sq. ft is. I was intending to estimlate just how much $$,$$$ a a patrolman would need to sustain his self and family of 4 before the need to go moonlighting; which I remember was the original reason the village fathere condoned that custom. By the answers from reality 1 (If those figures are correct) the ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 18, 11 7:48 AM
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jun 22, 11 11:00 AM
Southampton Village police compensation appears to mirror that of Southampton Town. (Actually, Chief Wilson took a pay cut to mover over to the Town so the Village may actually pay more.) While true that there is a CHANCE that police officers out her may be shot or killed, I cannot think of that last time that either has actually happened, if ever. The simple fact is that the greatest danger that a cop out her faces on a daily basis is that a drunk may puke in the back of his patrol car.

We ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 18, 11 12:45 PM
4 members liked this comment
Linda Kabot tried tackling reducing town police costs and we know what happened to her. Interesting that the Post mentions Charlie McArdle in conjunction with Nellos, as he was up to his armpits in what happened to Linda.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jun 21, 11 9:11 AM
I would hope that the person who wrote the article did their due diligence and investigated the information provided by the un named source. Just seems odd to me that the post has suddenly taken an interest in the local police department...first the article about Detective Lamison, now this. Someone obviously has an ax to grind. I feel sorry for this person. If anything unethical or illegal is going on in the village police department, it will come out without any help from them. All you have ...more
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jun 22, 11 11:12 AM
does anyone here have a copy of the contract that Wm Wilson or his wife had with this establishment ? where is the proof ? There are several companies that handle security and parking for clubs, private parties etc. Where is the proof that is was this couples client ? In fact i think there are a few Sgts in SHV that have had security companies, one who was fired, and one looking for a disability retirement.( these come to mind for those who would run to the NY Post and not the local papers, in fear ...more
By BCHBUM11968 (81), SOUTHAMPTON on Jun 22, 11 7:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
I do not know who was hired for security at Nellos, but whoever it was has done a very poor job of it over the years. I do know that Chief Wilson has long been aware of underage drinking at Nellos, and also the noise generated by Nellos, and done pittifully little about it as our village police chief. For that, I fault him.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jun 24, 11 10:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
"Copies of Contracts" New York State Department of State Division of Licensing Case # 2006-1969. Wilson pleads guilty violating State General Business Law INCLUDING operating without "COPIES OF CONTRACTS" fined $12,000.00. FYI
By Scooby (12), Southampton on Jun 30, 11 12:54 PM
There has been a long standing history of local police officers working as part time security guards in the Hamptons. I have never thought it was appropriate. Maybe now is the time for the Town and Village boards to include a provision in the police contracts to prevent this obvious conflict of intrest. Yeah right!
By fritzdaddy (35), southampton on Jun 23, 11 10:55 PM
What is the Village going to be doing to stop underage kids from being served regularly in a village establishment? And, about all the noise from Nellos disturbing an otherwise peaceful neighborhood? As these are long standing, unaddressed problems, I am glad the New York Post brought them up. Maybe, finally something will be done.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jun 24, 11 10:27 AM
No one has answered the key question: Who planted the article in the New York Post???...Who had something to gain by shutting Nello's down???
By CVStauffenberg (1), Greenwich on Jun 24, 11 7:32 PM