East Hampton Town Justice Catherine A. Cahill ordered yesterday that Mortimer Zuckerman’s driving history be reviewed by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles as she granted an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal on a charge against him of leaving the scene of an accident. The A.C.O.D. means the charge will be dismissed if the real estate and publishing magnate’s driving record stays clean for the next six months.
Mr. Zuckerman was represented in court by three attorneys, Leonard Ackerman, Eric Brown, and Anthony M. La Pinta. “You’ll explain to him that I’m going to have his record examined,” Justice Cahill said.
The charge stemmed from a July 14 incident in which Mr. Zuckerman side-swiped a car that had stopped at a red light near the Getty gas station in East Hampton Village.
“This happened two months in a row,” Justice Cahill said.
Mr. Zuckerman was involved in a second accident on Aug. 11, on Main Street in the village, in which a 2009 Ford Fusion was totaled. There were no charges filed.
Outside the courtroom after the proceedings were over, Mr. Ackerman explained that Mr. Zuckerman rarely drives. It appears that both accidents occurred when his driver was off duty. Both happened on Sundays, at about 3 p.m.
Earlier, he had been heard speaking with the justice during a prolonged conference that included Dan Cronin, the prosecuting assistant district attorney. “I’ve known him for 40 years. He lost control of the car. He’s not going to be driving,” Mr. Ackerman said.
In court, the attorneys told the justice that restitution had been made. Matthew E. Kirch of Amagansett, the owner of the first car Mr. Zuckerman struck, confirmed that he had received full payment for the damage.
In addition, Charlene Peele, the owner of the Fusion, said yesterday that Mr. Zuckerman’s insurance company had agreed to compensate her in full for the loss of the car, although it originally had declined to pay the difference between the book value of the car, $13,055, and the $17,700 she still owed on it. Her finance company had not yet confirmed receiving the settlement, however. Mr. Ackerman said his firm had been unable to reach Ms. Peele for the past couple of days, but that he expected the matter to be resolved very quickly.
Mr. Ackerman also issued a one-sentence press release on behalf of Mr. Zuckerman, saying he is “gratified that this matter has been successfully resolved, and thanks the district attorney and the court for the fair and even-handed manner in which they administered this case.”