The man accused by East Hampton Town of organizing an illegal mass gathering, namely last summer’s version of what is called the Barcelona boat party, was fined $2,000 in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Monday.
Michael Sendlenski, East Hampton Town’s prosecuting attorney, asked for, and got, the $2,000 fine, which is the maximum penalty, from Justice Steven Tekulsky, who has been on the bench since the beginning of the year. He had taken over the case from former Justice Catherine A. Cahill, who, in a three-page decision written before she retired, found Charles Canavan guilty as charged.
Afterward, as Mr. Canavan stood in line at the clerk’s window, where he requested more time to pay up, he said he would appeal. But Mr. Sendlenski said later that the 30-day window for appeal had expired.
“There is no evidence,” Mr. Canavan said, holding Justice Cahill’s decision in his hands, that would link him to planning the event.
Justice Cahill’s decision chronicles the 2013 event, which draws hundreds of people and takes place in different waters off East Hampton or Sag Harbor every year on the first Sunday in August. Mr. Canavan had acknowledged during his trial last fall that he had organized at least two previous boat parties.
As Mr. Canavan waited his turn with the clerk, he said he had dropped out of the planning stage last year. “I walked away from the whole thing,” he said. The justice found otherwise, writing that “the people have met their burden of proof.”
The justice’s decision described the revelers using “every conceivable type of flotation device imaginable,” including “surf boards, paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, rubber rafts and dinghys, plastic tubes and water wings,” and even “Styrofoam noodles.” She wrote that it had taken place last summer about 400 feet off Barcelona Neck, bringing it into town jurisdiction. A mass gathering permit is required for any pre-planned event bringing 50 or more people together.
The justice also catalogued the dangers of the event: “Vessels unable to stay afloat, due to excess capacity, taking on water,” and “swimmers unable to return to shore due to fatigue from intoxication and the tide.” The close proximity of power boats to swimmers was a concern, as well, she wrote, with one swimmer having been badly injured in the previous year’s event.
According to Mr. Canavan, however, he was just the fall guy. “They went ‘Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you,’ ” he said. Asked if there would be another party in 2014, he said, “For sure. It’s like going to Times Square for New Year’s Eve. People don’t need to get invited. They just go there.”